Social media’s heavy hand

Dear Editor:

I was hoping that an alert reader of the EA would challenge misstatements about critical race theory in Mr. [John] Fuhrman’s letter [“Payback for participation trophies, July 22].

I take up the cudgel reluctantly because speaking out against falsehoods today seems ineffective because social media makes them far more common than before. In 2016, for example, the largest buyer of Facebook ads was Donald Trump.

Mr. Fuhrman claims that critical race theory is now taught in grade schools. Where on Earth did he uncover this bizarre idea?

He disdains left-wing teachers. I can imagine a devious grade-school teacher slipping extracts from Bernie Sanders talks into the back pages of readers, but CRT?

Another misstatement is that, according to CRT, all whites are racists and all blacks victims. I do know where this strange distortion comes from; it is a favorite of GOP commentators. CRT looks at systems, not individuals. It does not need to hurl outlandish accusations.

The English poet John Milton, in a passionate defense of freedom of the press, wrote, “Let truth and falsehood grapple” because truth is stronger and will carry the day.

His faith was certainly justifiable. Today, though, we have no equal contest between truth and falsehood. Social media’s heavy hand on the scale ensures the malevolent power of falsehood will often prevail. As long as we have investigative journalists, though, truth may sometimes eke out a victory when it grapples with falsehood.

Margaret Cruikshank


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