May 24th, 2022


Progressives Prefer 'Narrative' to Truth

Laura Hollis

By Laura Hollis

Published Dec. 11, 2014

The "progressives" are at it again. This week's scandal is the broken-glass-gang-rape-that-apparently-wasn't at the University of Virginia. Initially published with all the indignation that Rolling Stone and its reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely could muster, the magazine has now backpedalled and apologized for its appalling breaches of journalistic protocol.

Referring to it as "this week's scandal" is no mere rhetorical flourish. Instances of left-wing journalists, pundits, media personalities and policymakers making up stories out of whole cloth are flying thick and fast these days. Feminists' darling du jour Lena Dunham is under fire for the allegations of rape she made in her latest book, "Not That Kind of Girl," against a fellow former Oberlin student identified only as a "campus Republican" named "Barry." "Barry" has retained an attorney and demanded a retraction. After a long and conspicuous silence, Dunham's publisher, Random House, has agreed to pay "Barry's" legal fees — if he'll donate the money to a rape crisis charity of his choice. At this writing, "Barry," continuing to maintain his innocence, has refused the offer.

Just last month, "Grubered" was added to the popular lexicon, when MIT professor and Obamacare guru Jonathan Gruber admitted no fewer than seven times (on camera, anyway) that the law's drafters had deliberately lied about key aspects of the legislation. To add insult — literally — to injury, Gruber credited the law's passage to American voters' "stupidity."

And then there is Ferguson, Missouri, shooting victim Michael Brown. Despite evidence from multiple witnesses that Brown was assaulting the police officer who shot him, the meme that has taken hold depicts Brown yelling "Don't shoot!" with his hands up.

This isn't a recent phenomenon, and it's no accident. Progressives thrive on creating stories that are nothing more than prog-paganda — "cases" that justify their political agenda. Deliberate falsehoods are created to whip the public into a fervor for some initiative. By the time the lie is exposed, it's too late.

NARAL founder and former abortionist-turned-pro-life activist Dr. Bernard Nathanson admitted that the oft-quoted figure of 10,000 women dying from botched abortions every year was a complete fabrication, used to drum up support for abortion on demand.

Twenty-two years ago, Guatamalan peasant activist Rigoberta Menchu received the Nobel Peace Prize for her autobiography, "I, Rigoberta Menchu." But when an admiring scholar followed up on the facts alleged in her book, he discovered that significant parts of the most compelling accounts were utter fiction. In what has become the standard prog-paganda line, the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote, "(I)t doesn't matter if the facts in the book are wrong, because ... Ms. Menchu's story speaks to a greater truth about the oppression of poor people in Central America."

You see? It's not the facts that matter; it's the larger narrative. And virtually every cause the left cares about has been transformed into a Blob-like "larger narrative" that survives by consuming inconvenient facts to the contrary:

It doesn't matter that the science shows no global warming over the past 15 years. What matters is the larger narrative about human exploitation of the planet's natural resources.

It doesn't matter that the young men at Duke did not rape exotic dancer Crystal Mangum. What matters is the larger narrative of white privilege and the athletic culture at Duke.

It doesn't matter that Matthew Shepard's brutal beating and death were likely a drug deal gone bad — and at the hands of a former male lover. What matters is the larger narrative about homophobia.

It doesn't matter that most men don't rape, or that (contrary to popular belief), 1 in 5 women aren't actually sexually assaulted on college campuses. What matters is the larger narrative about male patriarchy.

In short, for progressives, truth takes a back seat to a political agenda, even — no, especially — when the truth reveals that their political agenda is empty, specious, corrupt and unjustified. Most disturbingly, the media — charged with the responsibility of finding and exposing the truth — plays along.

And they wonder why Americans no longer trust the press?

11/28/14: Giving thanks for wonderful Americans who defy the media's narrative
11/13/14: Progressive Stupidity
11/06/14: GOP Victors Erode Left's Messaging
10/23/14: The Perils of a Compliant Media
10/23/14: 'Legal' Doesn't Equate to Moral Approval
10/20/14: Language in the Service of Life
10/09/14: Why does his administration refuse to protect us?
10/02/14: Toward a More Productive Policy Discourse
09/25/14: That burden called 'motherhood'
09/23/14: Obama's Johnny Bravo Moment

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Laura Hirschfeld Hollis is on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches courses in business law and entrepreneurship. She has received numerous awards for her teaching, research, community service and contributions to entrepreneurship education.