MEDIA ISN’T FAUX BUT POLITICIANS ARE – Marilyn Armstrong

WHAT IS TRUTH? DOES IT MATTER?

I don’t have a lot of friends in the Republican camp, but there remain a few. It didn’t used to be such a gigantic divide, but it has loomed hugely since the last election.

The other night I heard from an old friend who lives down in the middle of Georgia. Not Atlanta. The less expensive part where the non-city folk live. She is a warm, sweet, kindly woman, but times they are a’changing.

I don’t know what I said — probably nothing I really thought about — and she said “But we don’t know what the truth is. The media just lies all the time.”

Pause. Longer pause.

“Garry spent his whole life in news and many of our best friends were or are in the news business. Sally, they DO NOT MAKE UP THEIR NEWS STORIES. They never did and they don’t do it now. They spend their lives searching for the facts. For proof. For truth. They do not lie.”

An even longer pause. “But what difference does it make anyway?”

If she cannot understand that there is an uncrossable gap between truth and lies, then what is there to discuss? Perhaps that is the bottom line of our current issues with truth, that so many people on both sides of the political lines don’t care about truth and don’t think truth matters.


If the truth doesn’t matter, then I am not sure what does matter.

For me, the truth always matters. I can’t imagine not caring about the difference between truth and lies. 


 

29 thoughts on “MEDIA ISN’T FAUX BUT POLITICIANS ARE – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I am convinced that there are some people who don’t care about what is true and what is a lie. Donald Trump, for instance. Well, maybe it’s not so much that he doesn’t care, it’s that he doesn’t know the difference.

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    1. I think he’s half demented and much of the time doesn’t know what he is saying. He’s the guy you really know should be in that special home, but he’s so funny at dinner, you let him hang around. But generally, you don’t give him the nuclear codes, either. Not even the car keys.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I HATE it when I hear that cliche “The media doesn’t tell the truth. They always lie”. It demeans all the passion and belief I put into 40 plus years as a reporter. It demeans the careers of so many others who give their lives in pursuit of the truth. Many, LITERALLY, give up their lives in pursuit of the truth. I am not romanticizing my career. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve gotten it wrong. It happens when you’re covering multiple stories a day, 5to 7 days a week with deadlines always breathing down your neck. I always tried to clarify those mistakes — accepting my culpability up front and clear with our viewers. There were many days I hated what I had to do. Usually, it was the pursuit of truth which can be ugly, demanding, tedious and require much soul searching. The truth isn’t simple black and white despite what you usually see on television or in movies about reporters. There aren’t many clear “wins”. Often, we’re lambasted for telling the truth by the same folks who call us liars. Jack Nicholson’s “You can’t handle the truth” line should be crayoned on the skulls of those who insist the media always lies. Those critics are the same pilgrims who gobble up the pablum offered by the current White House Tenant who doesn’t know what the truth is. It’s like a foreign language to him.

        I fervently wish that THOSE PEOPLE who belittle the media and law enforcement officials — spend some time, say 24/7 on the streets. The real streets, not just their cozy neighborhood and see life closeup without any PR filters. I suspect those critics will sing a different song, think before they speak and see our world in 3 dimensions instead of whatever propaganda they accept in THEIR very biased and insulated world.

        Finally, I’m proud of what I did for a living. For 40 plus years, I fought to tell the truth. It was a privilege!

        – 30 –

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        1. Thank you. I wish more of you guys would speak up. I know what you did. I watched you do it. I watched Tom do it. All of you worked your hearts out to get it right and the younger ones are still doing it. No, reporters and news is not a pile of lies and no, I do not think we are quite so squashed into fake news as Trump has made many people think. There IS truth. There ARE facts. They ARE there to be found if anyone has the will to go and look for them. It doesn’t even take a lot of looking. You just have to make the effort.

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  2. And I thought there was an understood code among newsmen, whether by written word or by mouth, that all the news that’s fit to give is a result of the best efforts to get it right. That’s what Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Morrow, Garry Armstrong, Brinkly, and the rest, were all about. To me that unspoken code was as sacred as any law passed by legislators could be. I’m just sayin’.

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    1. I hate to tell you this, but those guys are GONE and the people who replaced them are more worried about ratings than reality. Sure, the journalists themselves try really hard to get the stories right … but their bosses are a whole different bunch of guys. Edward Who?

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        1. THANKS, again, Ben. Yeah, I’m still here. resting my eyes and ears….until this subject comes up.

          Ben, this reminds me of that scene in “McClintock”. John Wayne pestered by the ignorant bully says, “I’m not gonna hit him. I’m not gonna hit him. Hell, I’m GONNA hit him”. Sometimes, this villifying of the media by the ill-informed really ticks me off. I’m sure they get their “news” from the Fox road gang. Good luck to them.

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    2. Thanks, Ben. There was a code. Most of us adhered to it. We believed it to be our guide in pursuing stories. The TRUTH.

      I know many think this may be old fashion but it still works for me.

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    1. That’s how it should be. Even if you more or less watch news on one channel, you know some guys are better at getting the whole story than others. Not all reporters are equal. We are supposed to think about things and come up with our own answers. Thinking isn’t what it used to be, though. A lot of people don’t seem to think at all.

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  3. I’m sure journalists of the calibre of your Garry did what you wrote and sought for the unvarnished truth and gave it to us. In the day. Now? I’m sort of with Sally there. I don’t think ALL journalists lie, but a majority of them SPIN. They’re not allowed (IMHO) to give us the bald faced truth any more (apparently) because whomever is behind the curtain pulling our strings, doesn’t think we can take it. I personally don’t trust the news any longer. I’ve stopped paying attention to it. Because sadly, like politicians, journalists are more about spin these days than giving us facts. In my opinion. Sorry Garry. I am very saddened that your sort of reporting is becoming extinct.

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    1. That’s a sort of true-ish statement. I think they press does the best they can to dig out the truth and fight like hell to get it out there. Do they always succeed? No. But they really try and they give it their all. They really do. You have NO idea how hard they work at it.

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    2. Read Garry’s comments. I don’t think its true but you know? Having a president pounding on “fake news” 24/7 is convincing people that it must be at least a little bit true. It isn’t true. It really IS NOT TRUE.

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    3. Emb, on a personal note, it felt so very good when we got it right. When we got the truth — not the political spin — out to our viewers. God, it always made my day. A story “outing the truth” and, hours later, a glass of brandy. Ah, yes. I remember it well.

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  4. The truth does matter and I’m happy that there are still people out there with the character and honesty that Garry has. One news source that I have great faith in is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Although, it is government sponsored to some extent, it is often were some of the most glaring exposes about government mismanagement and fumbling are discussed. The government keeps try to cut their finances but in truth it does much to keep this huge country together.
    Leslie

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    1. Israel’s news service was technically a government agency, but they were at war with the government most of the time. The government would threaten them and once, the entire staff went on strike and refused to do the news. That lasted ONE day. Israel isn’t a place where you can skip the news. They were very trustworthy. Funding isn’t always the issue. The ability and battle-worthiness of the people on the air counts too.

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            1. I think most people don’t get that. They think they work a few minutes a day because that’s what they see on TV. But that 2 minutes piece probably took half a day to research and shoot and another hour or two to edit and narrate — and that’s just ONE story. Reporters don’t get one story per day. They get bunches of stories to do. Garry typically worked 12 to 14 hours on an average day — longer on a bad one.

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  5. In teaching critical thinking to my students, I came up against this often. One of the chapters in the book was titled (provocatively) “Truth.” It laid it out beautifully. That there is absolute truth which answers the questions that cannot be answered (yet) such as the existence of god and what is our purpose in the universe and there is factual information which is the truth about something. The author made a clear distinction between the two. We CAN know the truth about something. We WILL discover the truth about other things. We may never know know the BIG TRUTH, but we might. In the meantime, people’s beliefs about the BIG TRUTH are all we have.

    I think people don’t make the distinction and think when we say “truth” we’re talking about something vague and subjective and we’re NOT. Absolutely not. I also think people are intellectually lazy AND I think there are people who would rather not take a stand for facts because they just don’t like to.

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    1. Intellectually lazy. That’s a term I’d forgotten. Yes. They don’t try to figure out the facts, the truth, the “underlying” reality. They don’t bother. I sure hope they start to bother and today wouldn’t be too soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the angry polemics of our world in the past few years has made a lot of otherwise thinking people turn off. It’s not easy to have a fact-based discussion. I wonder if some people haven’t just become jaded over the whole thing.

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    2. Martha, the truth is usually multi-layered. It’s not just what one person says. I usually went through myriad sources, records, cross-checking information and re-questioning people. A very laborious process. Not glamorous. Much like the process of law enforcement. Matter of fact, very similar. We often worked together in solving cases, getting to the truth and distancing ourselves from critics who didn’t like the truth.

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