Caryn Sullivan: Liar, liar, pants on fire

Rather than question the narrative, most media outlets enable it.

Friday Food for Thought
Caryn Sullivan

In the 1992 film, “A Few Good Men,” Jack Nicholson shouts from the witness stand, “You can’t handle the truth” in response to a blistering cross examination during a court-martial. Thirty years later, it feels as if many people operate from the premise that we can’t handle — or don’t deserve — the truth.

There is such an epidemic of lying that I feel like shouting, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” Is it because those who lie or omit facts believe the rest of us can’t handle the truth? Or have we just come to expect — and accept — obfuscations, omissions, or outright lies as part of our normal discourse?

Here at Alpha News, we regularly offer examples of how the truth is being slayed. Gov. Tim Walz has been the subject of many of those stories, for he has a disturbing pattern of not telling the truth. It is so bad opponents launched a “Walz Lied” campaign.

Just last week, Alpha News reported that Walz lied about a DWI he was charged with while living in Nebraska. Former National Guard colleagues claim he has lied about his service.

Attorney Greg Pulles wrote a great piece of commentary in which he pointed out a litany of lies about the enormous Feeding Our Future scandal. Reading the piece, I imagined Walz is dancing the cha cha as he changed his answers, always deflecting and pointing fingers at others.

Throughout the course of the gubernatorial campaign, Walz claimed he would commit to live debates with challenger Dr. Scott Jensen. And yet, when they debate on Tuesday, it will be to a limited audience outside of the most populous part of the state. Has he offered so many versions of the Feeding Our Future scandal that even he can’t keep track of them?

Walz isn’t the only elected official who struggles with the truth. On Monday, Alpha News’ Liz Collin will release her expose about how Minnesota officials and media responded in the wake of George Floyd’s death in May of 2020. In “They’re Lying: The Media, the Left, and the Death of George Floyd,” Collin offers a very different take on events that altered the landscape here in Minnesota. Walz is one of many elected officials whose words and actions fail to pass muster. I recommend it to anyone who wonders how and why the state fell into the “Go woke, go broke” culture.

Though it’s pervasive here, Minnesota doesn’t have a lock on the lies. Our federal government is a persistent purveyor of lies and manipulations that are reshaping our culture.

When we look in the COVID rear view mirror, the landscape is peppered with examples of officials who shaded the truth or outright lied to assure compliance with COVID protocols, be it taking the jab, keeping our distance from grandma, keeping kids out of school, or so much more.

Why take a novel “vaccine”? Because it will prevent us from getting or transmitting COVID. Oh, but wait. Despite what you might recall, we’re now told officials never actually said that.

Perhaps the most egregious lies relate to our kids. It’s no longer clear as day that girls are girls and boys are boys. We get to choose.

That lie begs a question. If we can choose our gender, what’s next? Will we also be able to choose our race?

It’s not just gender that’s being revised. With traditional indicators showing it was imminent, the Biden administration changed the long-standing definition of a recession.

And then there’s the border. As millions of people enter the country illegally, the same administration insists the border is secure.

I’m not suggesting it’s only people on the Left who shade the truth or lie. It’s a common practice.

But it is the people on the Left who want to be the gatekeepers.

Months ago, the Biden administration floated the idea of a disinformation agency that would operate through the Department of Homeland Security.

Last week, PayPal, a financial transaction organization, tried to limit speech by imposing a $2500 fine on users who spread “misinformation.” Backlash was so severe the policy was scuttled. How was the message conveyed? With a lie. It was all a mistake or misunderstanding, PayPal said.

Just last week, in an interview with former Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, MSNBC anchor Nicole Wallace accused Republicans of using debates and rallies to take down democracy. It’s Republicans who are sowing discord, she said, before suggesting a democracy hotline, manned by Barack Obama, Ben Ginsburg, and Chris Christie, could take calls about Republicans who share disinformation.

Wallace exemplifies how, rather than question the narrative, most media outlets enable it.

In California, the incubator for radical approaches to most anything, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed a measure that makes it illegal for doctors to spread “misinformation” about COVID — or put another way, anything that doesn’t align with the party line. If you’re a physician in California, you can no longer exercise independent thought or expression.

I submit the answer to Jack Nicholson’s question is easy. Yes, we can handle the truth. In 2022, the more troubling question is whether we will recognize the truth when we hear it and, most importantly, whether voters will hold those in authority accountable for the truth.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not represent an official position of Alpha News. 


Caryn Sullivan
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A retired attorney and author of the award-winning memoir, "Bitter or Better: Grappling With Life on the Op-Ed Page," Caryn Sullivan has inspired readers with her thoughtful commentary for the past two decades. To learn more about Caryn’s work or to connect, visit