Sunday, November 13, 2016

Pinning Down THE Truth is a Slippery Notion . . .

Akin to holding onto a greased pig while applying lipstick

It's a messy, sloppy operation that's seldom successful.  Facts now, provable facts, those are not quite so hard to come by in this age of technological advance, recordings of both audio and video on nearly every phone, and a phone on nearly every person.

Which is why I'm musing, as I have been for several years, about facts being so hard to come by while white lies, half-truths, outright lies, exaggerations and fantasies flood the media (and I mean that in the widest sense of the word) in such total abundance.

A lie gets halfway around the world 
before the truth has a chance
to get its pants on.  
                      -- Winston Churchill


Has the world turned upside down, or have we just reverted to long held human stock-in-trades like rumor and whisperings?  Something's wrong when you can't post satire on FB without a flood of "likes" and "dislikes" from people who seem to have no clue that they are reading satire, unless you tell them so at the top (and even then, some folks don't read carefully enough to catch the disclaimer at the top).

I find I am not alone  in wondering about these things, but what is in short supply is a call from the heartland for fact-checking and truthfulness in journalism, news people and even a modicum of the same from bloggers and outliers in the new industry.  I won't ask why we shouldn't have it in the fake-news/clickbait industry   (it's their livelihood, as slimy as it may be), and I won't ask why w shouldn't have it from the partisan liars who spend their time trying to control the rest of us with their spider web spin.

According to Nicholas Kristoff
You may not realize that our Kenyan-born Muslim president was plotting to serve a third term as our illegitimate president, by allowing Hillary Clinton to win and then indicting her; Pope Francis’ endorsement of Donald Trump helped avert the election-rigging.

You perhaps didn’t know that Clinton is a Satan worshiper at the center of “an international child enslavement and sex ring.” Or that Chelsea Clinton isn’t Bill Clinton’s daughter, but a love child of Hillary’s by another man — or that Bill has his own love child with a black prostitute.

Oh, the scoops we miss here at The Times!

I hope no one missed the fact that Kristoff was pointing out the fabrications, not promoting these views - if you did, stop reading right now - you're a hopeless idiot.

I just want to know where the fact checkers are among the main stream media, and more than that, among the people as a whole (who consume the click-bait and listen to the spinmeisters as though they spoke the words of God). 

I'm about to say something a wee bit partisan but factual, in my own observations (that I could prove if pushed to waste a fair amount of time). The big lies are easily more numerous and virulent on one side than the other, in spite of being on both sides and also with those whose only interest is in their own self-enrichment.

I understand that Facebook  is grappling with a "fake-news"  sickness onsite, but I don't expect to see a cure, or even much of a symptom treatment from such a bastion of self-enrichment.  The green stuff will win, in the end, IMO.

I have tried to address this in my own small way by fact checking some of the more outrageous posts my friends and family put up. I even confronted people on  my side  of the political spectrum.  I had some success with the latter, but absolutely none with the former.  They didn't care if it conformed with the facts or not, they didn't even care when I was able to show them that the facts were entirely different. (The Pope endorsed Donald Trump for President?  Really now, you can't be that dumb or naive.)

Thus, this became time-consuming and mostly fruitless work and I finally gave it up in despair.  One caveat, I do admit to posting at least twice during this election season without being sure of my source or facts.  I was called on them by a fellow progressive in one instance, and a conservative friend in another.  In both I did a mea culpa.  However, afterwards, I checked into the item my conservative friend called me on and found that it was, in fact, quite accurate, other than a slightly misleading headline.  Oh, well.  She was impressed by the mea culpa, not so much with the post script I used to follow up. 

Another friend grandly informed me on FB that I KNEW certain things (that he was saying were true).  I refrained from replying, because I couldn't find a reply that was not angry and/or insulting, and I do like the man.  Social media can be hell sometimes, when a person you like and respect in many ways shows their hidden arrogance. Being unable to accept that another person has a sincere belief that differs with you own is the giveaway.  I am sometimes stunned when other people of my acquaintance vocalize wild tales accepted without a handful of salty scepticism, never mind grains of salt, but I do try to respect their honesty and sincerity, unless I know them to be liars or nut-balls.I can't quite wrap my mind around that level of disrespect to me from a person I respect and like, in spite of our diametrically opposed views.

I guess I am just moaning and whining, for lack of any concrete ideas for a cure for this sickness, and I do think it is sickness.  All I can do is complain and confront (when not too weary of the fruitless arguments and sad disrespect) and pray for guidance and strength.  Hope y'all out there are stronger and better equipped than I, or better prayers than I.  Peace.

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