Our nation is facing a crisis of truth. Public lies and distortions abound. We cannot trust the word of our leader. Such is a cancerous influence in our nation.

Some lies are debunked immediately — although seldom retracted. Perpetrators know a lie repeated often can become believable. But there’s also a subtle, more dangerous enemy of truth — “unchallenged assumptions.” Here’s how they work.

A false premise is offered as “Gospel.” It’s used to “prove” some other point. By focusing on the conclusion, we fail to challenge the assumption. Unchallenged assumptions are part of the truth deficit crippling our nation.

Note some unchallenged assumptions that distort todayu’s public discourse.

The president’s phone call to a military widow was criticized. He claimed his critic wrong, because the call was private. However, that unchallenged assumption wasn’t true. In fact, the widow wanted others to hear it.

The GOP currently is defending proposed big tax cuts for the rich by claiming tax cuts help the economy. Actually, that assumption’s been challenged before and found to be a lie. Nevertheless, supporters of the wealthy trot it out as “Gospel” in hopes that we forget how it was debunked before.

A presidential aide condemned a person who criticized a retired 4-star general, claiming it’s wrong to challenge such an officer. Fortunately, that assumption quickly was challenged — and the aide became the discredited person.

Such truth corruption is not simply that the unchallenged assumptions are false. More importantly, the issues involved are important — thus making real truth essential.

A healthy nation thrives on trust among the people. Trust means not only basic truth. It also means discussion devoid of shadowy suggestions of things that are not true — like unchallenged assumptions.

William A. McCartney,