Friday, April 20, 2012

Convictions Are More Dangerous Enemies of Truth Than Lies

The quotation in the title is by the philosopher Nietzche.  It clearly explains what has happened in the US political environment.  Our two-party system is devoted to creating convictions that are displacing truth.  We are being served convictions consisting of self-serving lies and misrepresentations with an absolute minimal backup of truth.  It is almost impossible for the citizenry to pick out the pure truth that is necessary for wise decision making.  They are confused.

It is difficult to imagine how the country will finally work itself back to health without a major influx of truth into our political campaigning.  However, neither the political parties nor the media seem interested in this happening.
One site, .FactCheck., founded in 2003. and supported by the Annenberg Foundation is a leader in focusing on examining modern political statements for truth.  It does this by applying tough journalism and scholarship to both parties’ releases.Spend some time at the FactCheck site and you will be amazed at the level  of misleading information  detected in releases by both parties that is not challenged by the traditional media. Also impressive is the effort of FactCheck to remove bias from their analysis.

The lock the political parties have on our election process is very harmful to our country. Congress must be turned independent.  This will be difficult if the public only receives confusing and self serving information from the two parties.  That is the situation now.

There are those who feel that lying for political gain in no less serious than lying for financial gain or to a federal agent, both of which are illegal.  On the other hand it is very disturbing to have the government involved at all with regulating political speech.
Like most reforms, the only solution is a more diligent and better informed citizen. Maybe someday politicians will issue their statements accompanied by a FactCheck stamp.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Event Overreach Junkies Are Bad for the Country

I don’t have a firm count on how many there actually are, but it seems that every time a national event calling for careful judgment occurs hordes of these specialists appear with crowds of demonstrators and TV appearances to amplify the situation into a national emergency.

The triggering environment always has at least three characteristics. The first is that the truth is not yet known. Secondly they stress that we must act immediately and as directed before the truth is known. Thirdly the situation must provide the media with at least several weeks to promote turmoil before wiser minds will prevail. It is an additional attraction if the situation can be used to promote otherwise rejected legislation.

When these forces are present someone, somewhere, makes the decision that the event qualifies for national media exposure. This means that the media is about to make a bad situation much, much worse! We are about to be swamped with sanctimonious opinions of TV analysts and numerous talk show appearances all ranting again some chosen villain. There will be pre-truth demands for justice. If possible the event will be politicized. There will also be a tsunami of bias, exaggeration and half truths. Truth that is counter to the main show is not presented. The majority of the media is happiest when in the truth-free portion of its act it can somehow assign guilt to American racism.

After some time the appointed villains eventually find some space to present their views. Although earlier implanted images are difficult to replace hopefully the truth as to their guilt or innocence finally prevails.

Unfortunately this habit of presenting what is falsely called news as truth in the early stages is very harmful to the nation. Making good decisions requires truth as input. Because it is used to lead you away from truth, the biased and invented news of the early stage is worse than none at all. Many people made their decisions early and don’t readily revise them. It certainly reflects badly on those who use it as a common tool.

What can we do to make it more difficult to deceive us in these early stages? Remember that truth will stay consistent for several levels of information while deception drops out after a few questions. Ask your own questions before reaching an opinion.