Why do you think it is often so difficult to correct outright lies and misinformation?
“Jim Jones Cool-aide” was once drunk by a group of religious fanatics that were led to believe that the contents of that drink would set their souls free. History will dictate that the drink which was mixed with an ounce of truth and a whole lot of lies, and was of coursed laced with poisonous cyanide; killed hundreds of believers as a result of their faithfulness. This is a severe example but relevant in my opinion.
People within my inner-circle use a well used phrase, “drinking the juice,” when describing someone who unquestionably follows a mistruth or misleading fact merely because they consider the source of the information as being credible.
The same as the Jim Jones disciples did back in the 70’s so do many American’s who blindly will believe misinformation or mistruths regarding certain subject matters as “Gospel”. Most of the mistruths that are disseminated in this society are related to very serious matters of government, political policy or personal information about our elected officials, or threats of war. This type of practice is very irresponsible and reckless.
In our society we thrive on controversy and fear. The more controversial the more fear can be created the more interesting! And, its not important if the subject matter is fact based or not, (remember our Military Intelligence Report which stated that Sadaam was harboring weapons of mass destruction), it’s the emotive response that gives legs to untruthful information.
In the Columbia Journal Review (August-2009) it used the term false claims relative to the counter information being spread by Republican supporters against President Obama’s health care reform proposal. The Rush Limbaugh’s, Bill O’Reilly’s, and Glen Beck’s of conservative talk show fame have a responsibility to their listener base. Their listener base obviously likes to drink the “anti-Liberal at all cost” juice. And to them all cost means to discredit the opposite principles even if it means to lie, twist or misrepresent the truth. Is that fighting fair? Well in our society, yes! Anything goes. And that’s unfortunate
We purport ourselves as a moral society, who stands up on the Constitution, human and civil rights, and the truth. But, in practice we’re anything but moral. We’re moral when it’s self-serving. But, the one thing about our Constitution is we are a nation of people, and for the people. As the people we have the ultimate power and influence over how we want to live our lives, however, we choose to minimize and trivialize our existence with constant and reckless spreading or rumors, mistruths and innuendos under the auspices of our greatest prized “freedom of speech”.
When we choose to use this gift as a weapon against each other we do nothing short of mock the Constitution. And, no matter what the media chooses to make newsworthy, we the people are what gives it life or death. We’re ultimately responsible for our information in its current form; untrustworthy.
I recall a recent debate with a colleague of mine when discussing the whole Steroid Scandal, which uncovered major league baseball players who reportedly used steroids. It’s important to note that at the time of the independent report that was famously known as the Mitchell Report, uncovered confirmed steroid use amongst certain players (the truth), but it’s universally believed that the report was supposed to be used as a tool to support evidence that the greatest player of the “Steroid Era”, Barry Bonds was also guilty of alleged use.
When the reports were released to the media, and an intense grand jury investigation, and formal indictments levied against Bonds, in the “court of public opinion” he’s completely guilty of (one would think murder). This is a classis example of a little truth mixed in with a bunch of twisted lies, opinions, and a personal vendetta of a grand jury prosecutor who’s vowed to take Barry down. My colleague stated his philosophy was that he always wanted to know the truth, regardless of how it’s obtained.
As a mature adult my andragogy has provided me with a keen practical knowledge and instinct especially as it relates to media driven scandals, to wait until the final truth comes out. The truth will always come out in the end, just like it did with the Iraq War, like it did with Watergate, like it did with President Clinton, and like it did in a twisted way with OJ Simpson. The real truth has a way to rising to the top and providing a balance in this chaotic society. Thank God!