… does it become true?
The Big Lie has many variations, one of which is often attributed to Joseph Goebbels, although no real proof exists that he said it. Regardless, we are all familiar with the sentiment: repeat something often enough and people will believe it – and you may come to believe it yourself. In the internet world, it’s known as a meme. Politically, I think “driving the narrative” may be the best description.
Regardless of which term you choose, some folks are trying to pin one on the results of the 100th House district race, as I mentioned in my op-ed in Thursday’s Virginian-Pilot. The idea that the election of Bloxom was a vote against Medicaid, as Speaker Bill Howell trumpeted in his email Tuesday night, was what we might call a projection: given that Medicaid expansion is the top issue right now in the General Assembly, voters chose someone who is against it.
As I pointed out – and in my discussions with those involved on both sides – Medicaid expansion was but one issue. Even bigger was Bloxom’s name recognition and the close knit Eastern Shore community. I’ve been told over and over that Democrats supported Bloxom “because they knew him.”
But that isn’t good enough a reason – it’s got to be about Medicaid expansion. And like the good puppets that they can sometimes be, the Times-Dispatch editorial page decided to beat that drum, too. They relied on a single source for this, rather than talking to those down here that know more. (Just guessing here – they got the Speaker’s email Tuesday and went hunting for someone to go on the record agreeing with it.) So readers of that paper may also think it is true.
Repeating something often enough may very well create a meme and drive the narrative. But it doesn’t make it true.
My column appears in The Virginian-Pilot every week, usually on Thursdays. You can see the columns as they are published here, or navigate to them from the PilotOnline.com homepage by clicking on Opinion and then choosing my name at the bottom of the dropdown list. You can also see the columns by liking my Facebook page. Although my column appears weekly, I am not and have never been an employee of The Virginian-Pilot nor am I paid for my contributions to the paper.Follow @vpaige