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Tuesday, October 23, 2018
HomeColumnsWhen deceit becomes the new ‘truth,’ we’re in trouble as a society

When deceit becomes the new ‘truth,’ we’re in trouble as a society

BY DAVID WILSON
GUEST COLUMNIST

Can there be justice for those who have done nothing, but have been brought up on charges anyway?

Most would want to think, yes.  Well…I’m here to tell you one story of retribution that could, potentially, change how false accusations are dealt with and settled.

Hawkins

In a time of censorship, insensitivity, selfishness, and extreme intolerance, “deceit” can become the new “truth.” The entertainment industry, media/journalism and political arenas have been blown wide open with career-crushing accusations. Self-awareness and honest reflection are quickly becoming the new platform for restitution, but not resolution.

Here I will focus on what I know: the political arena. With all the valid accusations that have come forth, we, the general public, have completely glossed over the false accusations that have come to the forefront. Why is that? For now, allow me to focus on a specific and particular case that hasn’t had wide-spread media attention as yet.

I am David Wilson, a state senator in Alaska who was recently accused of sexual harassment of a legislative aide by House leadership, a blogger, and a news reporter.

No one registered a formal complaint against me, but that did not stop others from filing baseless accusations, pushing forward without knowing the facts, or doing a proper investigation before labeling me guilty.

In October 2017, a blogger named Jeff Landfield “covered” this story in his new blog and it quickly spread throughout social media and local news programming without any due diligence.

The blog caught the attention of KTVA’s Reporter Liz Raines, who took this matter into her own hands, joining Mr. Landfield. Ms. Raines gave an inaccurate account of what happened as she went on her media campaign to tell her story. As time moved on, however, holes in Ms. Raines’ account began to appear.

A video that surfaced exonerated me. That video has yet to be viewed by the public. However, those who did have the opportunity to view the video saw to it that the charges against me were dropped.

The Bible states that for all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.

Imagine, if you will, my frustrations that dragged on for weeks, knowing that I was innocent the entire time. The lost hours of sleep, the pressures of work and deadlines, along with the loss of focus, should be completely understandable. I am but one case. Yet, there are thousands like mine, where innocent professionals are losing their livelihoods based on verbal accusations without any proof.

This is a fearful time in this society. When the burden of proof is on the defendant, the plaintiff can sit back and watch the disintegration of a human life, based on absolutely nothing.

It doesn’t take much for someone’s life to be turned totally upside down, their reputation ruined, future goals dashed, and families devastated and destroyed. I hope the lesson my case has taught is that you should never take your presumed innocence as a given in the eyes of others.

Someone desperately wanted to end my political career, livelihood, and, ultimately, my life as I knew it.

Maybe what I proved to my accusers in my counter action is that the innocents who stand and fight for their right to be heard will ultimately be the winners.

Harriet Beecher Stowe once said “When you get into a tight place, and everything goes against you till it seems as if you couldn’t hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that’s just the place and time that the tide will turn.”

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stated centuries ago. My plight just may be the perfect example to another under the same pressures today.

Throughout this fight I never forgot those that were important to me. I remained focused on my wife and my family, a difficult thing to do under such duress and pressure.

Criss Jami said “The pressure of adversity is the most powerful sustainer of accountability. It’s as though everything you do is multiplied by 50 in order to surpass those with a head-start. I was never capable of slacking when at the threshold of failure.”

These words ring true in my situation.

When will our society focus again upon the truth? We have laws in place like perjury, making a false statement to police, and obstruction of justice. Do we also need to create laws about bearing false witness and false claims of sexual harassment?

David Wilson is state senator who represents Wasilla, Meadow Lakes, Knik, Big Lake, Point MacKenzie, Goose Bay and North Fairview.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Thank you, Senator Wilson for standing up for the truth. There are few who would do the same. These are unfortunate times when one’s character can be attacked. It is easy for those to “throw mud” at another and some of that “mud” always sticks regardless of the truth. This seems to be the new tactic by the Left in its efforts to take over the political process and win. The Anchorage School District participated in this effort when it banned all military recruiters from its schools during the run up to the 2014 gubernatorial election. It even banned active duty recruiters. I predicted in a facebook post that the superintendent, Ed Graff, would lift the ban immediately after that election. Guess what? He did lift the ban the day following the election. And very little has been heard to this day of the charges regarding the sexual “attacks” in the AK National Guard.

    Senator Wilson, stand tall. It takes guts, courage and strong will to stand up for one’s integrity. Well done.

    • Be a Wise Political Opponent . Tell the Truth at all times. Then you will never have to step down. Probably, you will get elected and accomplish what you are elected to do. And Sleep well. When you’re finished. Citizen will appreciate you. Never have to say sorry or feel ashamed. Truth.

  • Senator Wilson has earned a lot of respect from myself and others for calling out the false witnesses. It’s easy for an immature reporter to jump on a story especially one that will get viewers. A good credible reporter will seek out the facts from both sides and be objective.

  • Dear Senator Wilson,

    I sincerely find it disturbing that you had to endure the truly horrific attack you did. When the truth does prevail the coverage is limited. The glossy narrative that was used for a political strike was far more covered than the actual truth. I am disgusted with our legislature leadership for failing to actually investigate a REAL complaint against a person who the Democrat party elected knowing he had issues of the sexual nature.

    The biggest issue I see is that there is LITTLE or no consequence and the damages are great to those who are affected by these baseless attacks. There seems to be a modus operandi by certain political folk (now mind you I am sure these tactics have been used by all sides of the political arena at some point in time) and it seems to be a trend, even more than the norm.

    Rahm Emanuel once said “Never let a good crisis go to waste” and the blow back from Harvey Weinstein sure was one that could not be ignored. It seems daily we see “news” that turns out later to not be true and just fit the current narrative. I am so tired of it, and thankful for people like Suzanne Downing and for you–for standing strong in the face of it all. We can face this nightmare of a reality we have created in many ways, but I hope we can do it with grace, integrity and that the truth will indeed prevail.

    The laws need to protect the innocent. We have a country based on “innocent until proven guilty” and media perhaps needs to be held accountable for their misdeeds. Especially politically motivated ones.

  • Could it be that there are those that recoil when an African American is elected to the Senate as a Republican. That’s not in keeping with the narrative that says that all people of color are Democrats or should support the Democratic party’s agenda. Why else would these people want to bring Senator Wilson down? Their rush to judgment was shameful. Particularly when you consider that these people were lawmakers sworn to uphold the constitution or “journalists” who should pride themselves by being objective and refusing to publish a story without a fair investigation as to its accuracy.

    • There is a lot of backlash at minorities who don’t follow the Dem party line. As an Alaskan Native I get criticized for “not knowing better” or any number of things. It is pretty blatant and downright disgusting coming from the tolerant, caring, compassionate, inclusive and diverse Left. That only tends to apply when you agree with them though. All bets are off otherwise. Rules for Radicals and all you know. I have been bucking the narrative most of my life as a conservative minority woman–they hate us when we do that. Go David Wilson! Keep the faith, you have supporters stronger than you have adversaries!

  • All that’s going on lately reminds me of the old witch trials.

  • This is an entirely compelling account by Senator Wilson, and I have no reason whatsoever to doubt or question a single word. But Republicans cannot expect fair treatment by the press nor can we always expect the results to be as positive in the end as has happened here. There was a single incident, a very recent incident, with the press claiming something occurred which did not occur, and there is a video that shows what really happened. Not every elected Republican and not every Republican running for office this year will have the evidence that Senator Wilson has; instead the press will pile on accusation after accusation while the Democrat in the race talks about the issues and runs a normal campaign. It’s impossible to prove something didn’t happen (except in the unusual circumstances Senator Wilson faced in that he had a factual video of the single incident), and when the accusers are numerous – with a new accuser coming forward each week – the accused candidate may not recover before election day. At a minimum I expect Alaska Democrats to test every Republican male running for office in this way, and any time it appears to the press to have some traction (which can be different than truth, as Senator Wilson attests) the candidate will have a steeper hill. Democrats don’t need to have proof; they only need to win the race, making life Hell for the Republican in the bargain.

    • I can only hope the voters of our state can see through the bs. This assault on conservatism, Republicans is being waged in every state. Make no mistake–this is in effect a civil war unlike one we have seen before and the levels to which the Left will stoop is pretty sickening.

  • The stupid blogger has no one that he is accountable to, has he even apologized? Doubt it. But the reporter, Raines, should have been fired from her job by KTVA. Thank you Senator Wilson for standing strong. Those that bear false witness will eventually answer for their lies and shameful deeds.

  • Senator Wilson, our prayers are with you and your family. Thank you. As for laws penalizing false accusations, perjury, and injurious slander: I think this is the time, and the penalty should be more than just recovery of legal fees.

    • What price the damage to a marriage and a family?

  • Let’s remember that the legislative aid never wanted any of this…..she was shoved into the spotlight when the blog post came out. She never even wanted you reprimanded!! The blog did not name her, the newspapers did not name her…..it was Susan Downing that posted her photo, and she was the only person to do so.
    You cannot blame the staffer for how this all turned out. Until the video or report is released it is still your word against the eye witnesses and the press. These are the facts, which will quickly be deleted from this blog post because you don’t like the facts.

    • That’s kind of the point, a conspiracy of sorts involving a news reporter and the leadership of our elected representatives tried to destroy a man’s life simply for political gain. All while they were busy apparently trying to cover up repeated sexual harassment by one of their own chosen members.

  • If there was no video those targeting him would have been successful. There are many false accusations made where the target has no defense against the lies.

  • Excellent write up Senator Wilson. As already mentioned, the latest movement of sexual harassment charges is in danger of becoming a witch hunt. I too am very concerned about the present “guilty until proven innocent” mode of reporting and how it may affect the upcoming election. The sheeple in this state scare me. Hopefully, those too lazy or stupid to find out the truth also are too lazy to vote. We need to hold responsible the Speaker of the House, Rep. Edgmon, who failed to take action for months on a filed report against a proven harasser, but was quick to pursue hearsay against Senator Wilson.

  • PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 90 January 6, 1973

    DECLARING UNLAWFUL RUMOR-MONGERING AND SPREADING FALSE INFORMATION– Philippines