A tremendous lesson can be learned from the Lance Armstrong scandal…
The term ‘smear merchant’ is used to describe someone who libels or slanders another person who has either exposed an uncomfortable truth about the would-be smear merchant or his agenda. The degree to which the smear merchant is successful is directly proportional to the disparity between his notoriety, success, wealth, following, and influence – or any combination thereof – compared to that of his truth-telling opposition.
The smear merchant doesn’t just bear false witness against his accuser; he does so while leveraging his superior advantage to project what is inconveniently true about himself onto the person who has exposed that truth. Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong provides the perfect case study.
In 2005, Frankie Andreu, Armstrong’s teammate from 1998-2000, along with his wife Betsy (interviewed below), testified against Armstrong. The now infamous cyclist became a smear merchant and used his power to destroy the couple as liars when, in reality, Armstrong was the liar who knew the Andreus were telling the truth. This is an extremely common experience among those who tell the truth about Islamic fundamentalism. They’re attacked not because they’re lying but because they’re telling the truth.
We absolutely sympathize with the Andreus and Walid can relate on a very, very real and personal level.
Pay attention closely beginning at the 1:45 mark of this video as both Frankie and Betsy explain what it was like to be victims of Armstrong’s attacks, which were backed by very powerful people and entities. This truly is worse than bearing false witness. Powerful smear merchants aren’t just satisfied with blaming others; they must use their power, wealth, and influence to destroy them for telling the truth. It’s bearing false witness… on steroids.
In 2004, Armstrong made a cameo appearance as himself in the film Dodgeball, during which he elevated himself while belittling the captain of a Dodgeball team (Vince Vaughn) who had decided to accept a bribe instead of playing in the finals.