Lt. Governor Forest -- Embrace the truth. Stop spreading falsehoods

Published January 30, 2020


Elections should focus on bringing diverse interests together toward common concerns and the greater good. Campaigns must be about the truth.

But North Carolina’s Lt. Gov. Dan Forest believes otherwise. In a speech on Martin Luther King Jr. Day – a time when unity and understanding are typically the themes – Forest sought to deepen divisions. While he gives lip-service to unity in his remarks, his sharpest words aim to isolate.

“There is no doubt that when Planned Parenthood was created, it was created to destroy the entire black race,”,” Forest said in remarks to a breakfast at a Raleigh church. “That was the purpose of Planned Parenthood. That’s the truth!”

No. It is not the truth – which we’ll get to shortly.

Forest has a passion for divisiveness. He was a leader and most vocal advocate of the mean-spirited and ill-conceived discriminatory House Bill 2 – bathroom regulations. The legislation became a national model for discrimination to a point where businesses and hosts of major athletic events didn’t want to associate themselves with North Carolina.

Forest doesn’t stop there. He’s decried “diversity and multiculturalism” with the notion that everyone needs to assimilate to what he demands our state and nation adhere to.

But, most disturbing about Forest’s King Day remarks on Planned Parenthood and abortion is that he was wrong. He DID NOT tell the truth. He spread fake news.

Just how wrong was this? Fully and completely.

In 2011, presidential candidate Herman Cain said Planned Parenthood’s early objective was to "help kill black babies before they came into the world." PolitiFact, the much-honored fact-checking organization, researched and found “Cain’s claim is a ridiculous, cynical play of the race card.” It was rated “Pants on Fire.”, another independent fact-checking organization, investigated the same allegation and came to the same conclusion. “Herman Cain has offered an alternate version of history,” they concluded. “We find no support for that old claim.” 

In September 2015, presidential candidate Ben Carson said Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger "believed that people like me should be eliminated." Substantial evidence shows, PolitiFact reported, “that she was not racist and in fact worked closely with black leaders and health care professionals. Carson’s statement bears no relation to historical reality.” It was rated “False.”

When asked by a reporter for clarification of Forest's comments, campaign spokesman Andrew Dunn noted articles about Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger's controversial background and quotes about King's opposition to abortion. Dunn noted Sanger’s beliefs on eugenics and ties a program called the “Negro Project” that brought birth control services – but not abortion – to black communities in the South. All, as noted above, clarified and debunked by the fact checkers. 

Spreading falsehoods and fostering divisiveness may help the lieutenant governor win a primary in a few weeks. But no reputable candidate will allow truth and unity to be campaign battlefield casualties.

North Carolina deserves honest candidates who will work to unite the state in pursuit of excellence. The primary voters should insist upon it when they go to the polling place.

Forest must apologize for spreading lies and commit himself to a campaign that elevates truth and the common good.