The absurdity of the George Santos saga keeps the story trending longer than most stories do.
Santos told the local GOP he was a star volleyball captain at a university he never attended. He lied about having friends who died in the Pulse Orlando shooting. He lied when he said his mother died in 9/11. He lied about being black, Jewish, and possibly about being gay.
Hell, we’re not even sure that George Santos is his real name.
The sheer audacity of the lies and the ridiculousness of the situation create a mega-storm for a viral story.
Jokes aside, Santos flipped a Democrat-held seat to Republican by inventing a life story with no one holding him accountable for it (*ahem the press ahem*).
Without discounting the danger presented in an electorate duped by such an obvious fraudster, and the failure of the press to properly inform them, I ask: Why are lies about George Santos’ private life deserving of so much attention, whilst the more harmful, sinister fabrications are presented as “normal” now?
Take the Big Lie, for example. Less than one-quarter of Republicans acknowledge that Joe Biden won the 2020 election legitimately. Across all parties, not even half of the country believes the 2020 election was “definitely legitimate.”
But we didn’t end up there by accident. The 2016 election highlighted the extent to which foreign influence drives American political discourse and elections. Despite the indictments of twelve people for, their roles in interfering with our elections that year, “conservatwitter” believes without a doubt that there was no Russian influence.
Two years later, Donald Trump claims he sent federal agents to Florida to stop counting ballots and hand the Governor’s office to Ron DeSantis, who won by less than half of one percent. Trump insists he stole the election for DeSantis, and while the press has readily called the claims “unsubstantiated,” there have thus far been zero investigations into the matter.
Again in Florida (this time in 2020), Republicans orchestrated a Ghost Candidate scheme that led to half-a-dozen indictments and multiple, ongoing investigations. Simultaneously, Florida’s elected representatives, including Matt Gaetz, played a significant role in planning the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the United State Capitol.
Ron DeSantis came up with the fake elector scheme, but still the GOP jewel for contrarian media types, his role in the chaos manages to escape the headlines.
The very real interference in our democratic process by foreign parties (2016), by the federal government (2018) and by elected officials (2020) were all practice runs for what will likely be a contested 2024 Presidential election.
The GOP survives in a nation more diverse and progressive than it ought to because it lies.
Matt Gaetz lied repeatedly about post-birth abortions, immigration statistics, COVID-19, and even his ill-fated attempt to bully my son online.
It’s become normal for Republicans to lie, and normal for the media to ignore it or accept it as status-quo.
So why is the press so damn interested in Santos and the lies about his resume and less interested in calling out men like Matt Gaetz who falsely claim infanticide is occurring in abortion clinics?
Perhaps it’s because devoting a column on the front page of your paper specifically to the lies told by politicians each day wouldn’t have enough space to capture it all. News stations in Eastern Europe devote large amounts of air time to the propaganda and disinformation each day.
It’s long past time that America did, too.
But that would require investigations. That would require good, honest journalists who still hold on to the ideals of what the fourth estate.