As one departs from childhood, he observes that his early, timeworn, response to critical comments or insulting accusations, “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me” is, in fact, empirically, inaccurate. The employment of accusatory or critical words can have truly devastating and enduring results upon an individual’s reputation or the perceived value of an asset or idea. If a statement is false and causes injury, the wrong can be redressed in a lawsuit for the tort of defamation. Such false and injurious statements (defamation) may be oral (“slander”) or written (libel).
We were inwardly, pleased to learn of the two pending lawsuits, by plaintiffs, Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, USA, against Fox News and Fox Corp., together with certain of their popular television hosts, seeking damages in the billions of dollars for defamation. The charges principally consist of the intentional, broadcast of false statements, proclaiming that the presidential election was (in the words of Donald J. Trump), “stolen,” by the mechanical, switching and altering the votes, in order that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were the winners. Successful results in said lawsuits, we are advised, could put Fox News out of business; a result, which, in our view, would be entirely, salubrious, to our Nation’s body politic, and its democracy. Fox News, eternally, has held itself out as a legitimate, News channel, when, in empirical reality, it is, a tactical, full-time, purveyor of right-wing propaganda.
However, such positive events, per se, do not constitute the intended, contextual theme of this essay, viz., the positive, function of such pending (and devastating) lawsuits, as a sorely, needed and conspicuous, public reaffirmation of the basic, societal necessity, of factual, truth.
The shocking, elevation of Donald J. Trump to the Oval Office (largely, by the poorly informed and misguided, populist, “underbelly” of the Nation, financed by several of the Nation’s irresponsible anti-regulation, industrialists) was, predictably, regressive, and anti-democratic. In addition to his profound ignorance, his shameful bias and lack of moral compass, Trump, from the day of his inauguration, set out on the path of the autocratic, trade- mark policy of, demeaning factual truth, castigating the responsible media, and introducing to his large horde of compliant and deplorable acolytes, the concept of “alternate” facts, viz., information, subjectively, tailored to suit one’s temporal interest.
We have written, copiously, on the subject of this bizarre, Marvel Comics style, villain, his miscreant behavior, as previously specified, ranging from treasonous (promoting Putin’s propaganda) and greedy violations of the “Emolument Clause,” express bigotry, shameless incompetency and publicly demonstrated, lack of moral compass. Nevertheless, the totality of said, specified, immorality, in our view, does not attain the deplorable level of the societal (i.e., anthropological) crime of demeaning the existential concept and humanistic, commitment regarding, “truth.” Without the mutual confidence and the eternal pragmatic, assumption of factual truth, the vital element of interactive communication would be untrustworthy or non-existent, and thus, societal life would be rendered, impossible; thus relegating Man to his early, primitive state, as living a lonely, insecure and hazardous life. “Truth” is the existential epoxy of interactive communication, and ultimately, of the existence of society.
Trump’s active and demagogic campaign against truth (“alt, facts”) was especially, successful among his populist acolytes, and succeeded in being an effective, catalyst for the creation and dissemination of his supporters’ susceptibility to delusional, conspiratorial ideations, such as: liberals are child abusers, the Jews seek control of the World, 9/11 was a U.S. false-flag operation, Israel (not climate change) is causing the unnaturally, large number of forest fires in the Southwest, by shooting rockets from outer space, and other creative, “revelations.” Many such paranoid ideations (revelations) were construed and disseminated by Trump’s cult-like supporters, loyally, compliant, with his denigration of truthful reality.
By far, the most shocking and damaging conspiratorial creation was Trump’s autocratic style, election denial, (of his loss to Biden) viz., “The Big Lie,” resulting in substantial National discord and, ultimately, an historically, notable, violent insurrection, which tragedy, at his invitation took place, at the Washington Capital Building two years ago. It will be recalled, that, the relevant election had been certified as valid, by several professionally, accredited sources. Nevertheless, said intentionally, false and neurotic, election conspiracy (The Big Lie”), asserted by Donald Trump, and adopted by his large cult, of sycophants, frustratingly, and incomprehensibly, persists, to date.
Mankind’s existential, moral and pragmatic standard of truth, where needed, is highlighted by the two above-mentioned, cases, which concern a fundamental subject, required for the essential survival of humankind.