Nobody Tells the Truth

 

Why would anyone have faith in the government’s telling the truth? It’s clear that if the facts get in the way of their agenda, they aren’t interested in “complicating” their message. We always knew that government, and especially politicians, “mishandled” the truth, but we figured that behavior went with the job. After all, they desperately wanted to fool as many people as possible. But now the lying is so ubiquitous that the word “truth” has lost its meaning. I’d like to think the lying happens less on the Right, but I simply don’t know if that’s true anymore. Even more disappointing is that more than ever, the media has decided that its mission is to defend the Leftist agenda, so they are happy to collude in the lying.

The fact is, digging up the truth can be inconvenient: who wants to conduct an investigation, with the time and effort it will require, when you can just make it up? Not only is making that effort tiresome, but you might discover facts that simply don’t support your agenda. A much more “helpful” approach is to be creative; make up your own facts from innuendo when you report on the Right, and ignore or embellish your facts when they aren’t flattering to the Left.

The rest of us are left to try to determine the truth on our own. How are we supposed to do that? We’ve known that the media has slanted Left for a very long time, but it is now dominated by the Left’s agenda. How did the media become so committed to making up their own facts?

I’d point to a number of cultural changes that both the government and the media have been subject to:

  • Lack of a connection or commitment to moral and religious values—Even people who appear to be engaged with their religions are prepared to compromise their values when it suits their motives.
  • Lack of impulse control—Rather than fight the impulse to be the first out with any kind of news, the media chooses to be the first to report the most outrageous story—the worse, the better. Lack of impulse control also refers to those people who spout attacks and derogatory accusations against the people they dislike—without any interest in making sure that the defamations are accurate.
  • An abundance of narcissism—Too often legislators and reporters want to be part of, if not central to, the story. They take over the headlines, rather than letting their version of the facts relate the story. One only needs to think of Nancy Pelosi and Jim Acosta to know the truth of this statement.
  • The thrill of intrigue—Everyone loves a good story. But when we are reading or listening to the news, we want to be informed, not titillated. More often than not, reporters are focusing on exciting their readership, not educating them.
  • Destroying the enemy—with the ongoing polarization, the two sides are not merely adversaries; they are now dangerous threats to democracy. Some of these battles seem to become, metaphorically, Biblical in proportion. The people must be killed, the landscape laid waste. It’s a take no prisoners mentality.
  • Lack of maturity—Too many people seem to be trapped in ideas that lack perspective or maturity. The only thing that matters is getting one’s way, and making sure the other side loses. There is little appreciation for human nature, relationships and serving the people.

President Biden leads the way in lying to the people. He has told repeated lies about the coronavirus. He has misrepresented the proposed spending for infrastructure. He lied about the Texas and Georgia election bills leading to voter suppression. He has insisted that the border situation is being managed. He doesn’t understand the second amendment and the importance of protecting it. He mischaracterized the riots of last summer. He said there was no vaccine distribution plan. He claimed he inherited a mess on the border. He’s insisted people wear masks when the science didn’t support him.

And there’s much more.

*     *    *     *

So, what can we do to overcome the lies that we are repeatedly exposed to? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Get your information from multiple sources, and have at least one that you believe is likely to tell the truth.
  • Follow the story over time. For example, you might find that a school district claims to have removed Critical Race Theory from its curriculum; take the time within a month or two to make sure that change occurred.
  • Speak out against distortions and lies, especially at the local level.

And to maintain a sense of equilibrium, try these:

  • Mourn the loss of losing a more virtuous country—but find a way to move on.
  • Speak the truth at every opportunity.
  • Don’t adopt the language of the Left.
  • Take risks; do this not just to do the right thing, but to be an example to others that you are prepared to step up.

Let’s start a movement among us to simply tell the truth.

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  1. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Leftists like to ignore the definitions of words, which is another form of dishonesty.   Precision in language is important for resolving differences and cooperating politically.  Every day we hear “coup” and “fascist” and “democracy” and “existential threat” without regard to what those words mean.  I spend half of every conversation resetting what words mean.  This happens here on Ricochet too.

    That dishonesty is different from the Maoist manipulation of words that the Leftists do as a way of continually outing those that are not part of “the revolution”.  Words around gender and race are continuously redefined so that people inside the revolution can identify and isolate those outside the revolution.  Again, I’ve decided not to play along.  I am old enough that I can get away with being “set in my ways”.

     

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):
    Leftists like to ignore the definitions of words, which is another form of dishonesty.   Precision in language is important for resolving differences and cooperating politically.  Every day we hear “coup” and “fascist” and “democracy” and “existential threat” without regard to what those words mean.  I spend half of every conversation resetting what words mean.  This happens here on Ricochet too.

    Excellent point, @dong. They especially love hyperbole; it’s so dramatic and invigorating. I’d love to change my language back to more traditional usage, but I wonder how much I’ve unconsciously been indoctrinated. Is “woke” part of their lexicon? Is “cancer culture” part of ours or theirs? I admire your being set in your ways!

    • #2
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    The adults are, for the most part, gone. Baby Boomers never grew up on the whole. Same for the generations after. 

    We are a world of children. 

    • #3
  4. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Susan Quinn:

     

    • Mourn the loss of losing a more virtuous country—but find a way to move on.
    • Speak the truth at every opportunity.
    • Don’t adopt the language of the Left.
    • Take risks; do this not just to do the right thing, but to be an example to others that you are prepared to step up.

    One cannot adopt the language of the Left and speak truth. Speaking truth is a transgressive act — thus risk. These are active and not passive, like mourning. Great prescription. 

    • #4
  5. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    I am lying right now.

    [Manical laugh.]

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    One cannot adopt the language of the Left and speak truth.

    This point is especially true. Thanks!

    • #6
  7. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Another superb post.

    • #7
  8. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    I definitely think some part of the right is lying.

    But I think the biggest problem on the right is that every source of factual information is controlled by the left and there is almost no way of ascertaining independently if the facts are true or not. So the right is engaged in some kind of schizophrenic “the truth is the exact opposite” and attempting to find factual information in unconventional and sometimes inaccurate ways.

    For instance, the media is reporting a Covid surge that is 99% unvaccinated. Some righty distrusts that narrative and digs in the only way he has access to – by going to his state’s reported numbers and, in a roundabout way, getting the digits that the media isn’t reporting. They reported the absolute number of vaccine breakout cases, but not the denominator. His method showed that the situation is the exact opposite – breakthrough cases are 99% of new hospitalizations (the total number of which isn’t that high, by the way).

    Is he lying? No. May he be wrong? High chance given how he came about the numbers. Is the media lying? Possibly. Misleading? Nearly guaranteed. Do you have enough information provided to figure it out? Nope.

    I trust God. I trust Jesus. I trust the Bible is the truth. That is going to need to satisfy for my foundation of truth at the moment. Everything else is simply unknown by me but known by God.

    • #8
  9. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I am lying right now.

    [Manical laugh.]

    This is a superb contradiction.

    • #9
  10. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    The most concerning thing for me is the degree to which telling untruths has filtered down to the general populace.

    Politicians, almost as a whole, lie.  In general, it’s what they always have done, and will continue to do.  By now, it’s a given for me.

    The MSM values “the story” over “the truth,” and has for a good long time.  This consistently involves making up a story if one doesn’t exist by choices of words and manipulation of the desired narrative.  There are also lies of omission, the media’s forte.  It’s unfortunate but I’ve come to ignore the whole package.

    However, the widespread inclination of your average citizen to subordinate truth to political agenda, and disseminate untruths through social media, is something pretty new.  This stems from the notion that the triumph of a person’s ideology is the “new truth,” and that actual truths are irrelevant and inconvenient to that triumph.  It is a function of polarization, and is likely to get worse as polarization increases.

    • #10
  11. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    We all live in Wonderland.

    • #11
  12. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Journalism was never about truth. Mourning the passing of something that never was is just strange. 

    More generally, ‘truth’ is hard. The most important truths – the full nature of the divine, what is in Nancy Pelosi’s heart, why I had that second slice of cake, the effect of an increase in the minimum wage – are forever beyond our ken. Since these questions (well, perhaps not the cake one – but motives and nth-order effects) are the bread-and-butter of politics, we can never know the truth about politics, and expecting to have it delivered by humans (or, looking at most of the press corps, sub-humans) is to demand the impossible. 

    This is not a counsel of despair. We do not know our own inner nature, let alone those of our spouses and children, yet we manage – we make decisions (we make mistakes), we love and are loved. It is to recognize the strict limits on what can be known. It is, perhaps, a call to epistemological modesty – and that probably has political connotations. 

    But what do I know?

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    genferei (View Comment):
    Journalism was never about truth. Mourning the passing of something that never was is just strange. 

    I mourn the loss of the culture valuing truth.

    • #13
  14. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    genferei (View Comment):

    Journalism was never about truth. Mourning the passing of something that never was is just strange.

    More generally, ‘truth’ is hard. The most important truths – the full nature of the divine, what is in Nancy Pelosi’s heart, why I had that second slice of cake, the effect of an increase in the minimum wage – are forever beyond our ken. Since these questions (well, perhaps not the cake one – but motives and nth-order effects) are the bread-and-butter of politics, we can never know the truth about politics, and expecting to have it delivered by humans (or, looking at most of the press corps, sub-humans) is to demand the impossible.

    This is not a counsel of despair. We do not know our own inner nature, let alone those of our spouses and children, yet we manage – we make decisions (we make mistakes), we love and are loved. It is to recognize the strict limits on what can be known. It is, perhaps, a call to epistemological modesty – and that probably has political connotations.

    But what do I know?

    Yes. Over the years, I’ve learned to be skeptical — even of my own motives sometimes.

    • #14
  15. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    The left will tell you truth is subjective, and in some ways, they’re right.  However, that’s because we need facts to know a truth, and sometimes we don’t always have the facts.  It’s easier to manipulate people when they are only fed the facts you want them to know, and the MSM excels at this.

    When they don’t have the facts, they make things up.  Thanks to the internet and social media, the old saying is true – a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still getting out of bed . . .

    • #15
  16. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Leftists like to ignore the definitions of words, which is another form of dishonesty. Precision in language is important for resolving differences and cooperating politically. Every day we hear “coup” and “fascist” and “democracy” and “existential threat” without regard to what those words mean. I spend half of every conversation resetting what words mean. This happens here on Ricochet too.

    That dishonesty is different from the Maoist manipulation of words that the Leftists do as a way of continually outing those that are not part of “the revolution”. Words around gender and race are continuously redefined so that people inside the revolution can identify and isolate those outside the revolution. Again, I’ve decided not to play along. I am old enough that I can get away with being “set in my ways”.

     

    My hunch is that you can “get away with being ‘set in my ways'” only if you shut up and go away. 

    • #16
  17. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    @SusanQuinn Plenty of food for thought.

    • #17
  18. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):
    Journalism was never about truth. Mourning the passing of something that never was is just strange.

    I mourn the loss of the culture valuing truth.

    Copy that.  I just read the “Emmy Award” nominations for “News and Documentary” and saw that Rachel MadCow had received a nomination in a category that was for “straight news”.

    We’ve gone way past “laughable”.  What’s next?  A posthumous award to Joseph Goebbels for his “admirable broadcasting abilities”.  How about one for Julius Streicher for his outstanding work in publishing Der Sturmer?

    • #18
  19. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    The most concerning thing for me is the degree to which telling untruths has filtered down to the general populace.

    Politicians, almost as a whole, lie.  In general, it’s what they always have done, and will continue to do.  By now, it’s a given for me.

    It used to be the case that politicians lived in a common world with voters and their bald-face lies would be embarrassing.  Now, politicians of Left live in a media bubble where their lies are echoed back and they never have to be confronted by their lies.  Without negative feedback, politicians will just get worse and worse.

    • #19
  20. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):
    It used to be the case that politicians lived in a common world with voters and their bald-face lies would be embarrassing.

    I wonder – was this ever true? It seems to me that politics has always been about the bald-face lie. The early presidential elections were filled with the most extraordinary claims about the other side. The idea that a political promise is worthless is not a new one. Machiavelli was just codifying best practices. And I’m pretty sure Plato didn’t think honesty towards the people was a political virtue.

    Of course, back in the day the worst a sovereign or president could do would be steal a tiny percentage of the wealth of the realm, debase the currency and lead the country into war. In today’s hyper-militarized administrative state the local dog-catcher can surveil your every communication, dispatch a SWAT team or render you an un-person with the flick of a mouse. Progress!

    • #20
  21. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    genferei (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):
    It used to be the case that politicians lived in a common world with voters and their bald-face lies would be embarrassing.

    I wonder – was this ever true? It seems to me that politics has always been about the bald-face lie. The early presidential elections were filled with the most extraordinary claims about the other side. The idea that a political promise is worthless is not a new one. Machiavelli was just codifying best practices. And I’m pretty sure Plato didn’t think honesty towards the people was a political virtue.

    Of course, back in the day the worst a sovereign or president could do would be steal a tiny percentage of the wealth of the realm, debase the currency and lead the country into war. In today’s hyper-militarized administrative state the local dog-catcher can surveil your every communication, dispatch a SWAT team or render you an un-person with the flick of a mouse. Progress!

    True.  But in the US there was a time in the US before politicians were solely employed as politicians, and before politicians became a “profession” like doctor, lawyer, architect and engineer, and before political science became a college degree, and before a large number of politicians went straight from college to elected government without ever holding a job.  Or is this not so either.

    • #21
  22. Roderic Reagan
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    Susan Quinn: Lack of maturity—Too many people seem to be trapped in ideas that lack perspective or maturity. The only thing that matters is getting one’s way, and making sure the other side loses. There is little appreciation for human nature, relationships and serving the people.

    Yes, I’ve always thought of conservatives as the wise ones, the grownups.  But I’ve been astonished watching some conservatives when it comes to even the most common sense public health measures.  Like masks.  Of course there is plenty of science to support their use, the medical profession is largely in agreement with that.  And getting vaccinated.  We’ve been given some of the safest and most effective vaccines the world has ever seen to fight COVID, and some stubbornly  refuse to take it.   It’s hard to fathom. 

    So the pandemic goes on and on and on …. 

    Yes, it is irksome to watch government officials in the catbird seat provided by this crisis.  But there are some things that even a libertarian has to agree that government is good for.   A reflexive opposition to government isn’t called for here.  Fulminating about conspiracies to enslave us all and yada yada yada isn’t helpful.

    If the virus is out there long enough eventually a strain resistant to the immunity provided by the vaccine or previous infection, or a strain that kills more young people, will pop up and then we’ll really be screwed.  If that happens then if we are spared millions more deaths it will only be because we have the mRNA technology to get a new vaccine out fast.  That and because enough people are willing to go along with measures to limit spread.

    The virus doesn’t care how tired we are of being told to use masks and get vaccinated and so on.

    Sorry that I’m not in sync with a some of conservatives on this, but being medically trained and educated, also trained in research and data analysis, I don’t think I could see it any differently.  

    • #22
  23. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Sadly true.  There is no fix because we are increasingly top down and giant.  The top, even if it seriously wants truth, can’t find it except for its immediate interests which do not contain information about 99% of the rest of the country but affect others one way or another if they have power, which they almost always do.  The US was unique.  It was the first large diverse country where power grew up from the ground.  So regular folks didn’t know the “truth” any more than anyone else, but sorted it out as they pursued their interests, compromised with neighbors and family like everyone else in personal lives, business dealings, and schools.  They could work for or be part of a large organization but that organization had to deal with the bottom to buy, sell, repair, grow.  The State and Federal governments do not have to know the “folks”and giant corporations enjoying falling costs are getting there as well. It’s not as if we haven’t seen it in very civilization that ever existed.

    • #23
  24. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Flicker (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):
    It used to be the case that politicians lived in a common world with voters and their bald-face lies would be embarrassing.

    I wonder – was this ever true? It seems to me that politics has always been about the bald-face lie. The early presidential elections were filled with the most extraordinary claims about the other side. The idea that a political promise is worthless is not a new one. Machiavelli was just codifying best practices. And I’m pretty sure Plato didn’t think honesty towards the people was a political virtue.

    Of course, back in the day the worst a sovereign or president could do would be steal a tiny percentage of the wealth of the realm, debase the currency and lead the country into war. In today’s hyper-militarized administrative state the local dog-catcher can surveil your every communication, dispatch a SWAT team or render you an un-person with the flick of a mouse. Progress!

    True. But in the US there was a time in the US before politicians were solely employed as politicians, and before politicians became a “profession” like doctor, lawyer, architect and engineer, and before political science became a college degree, and before a large number of politicians went straight from college to elected government without ever holding a job. Or is this not so either.

    Your observation is not far from a summary of the careers of AOC and Mayor Pete. 

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):
    Your observation is not far from a summary of the careers of AOC and Mayor Pete. 

    Now, now, AOC was a bartender for a time . . . 

    • #25
  26. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    The whole truth thing is like so five minutes ago. The real issues:

    Is it viral? 
    Does it help or hurt Donald Trump and other racist homophobes? 
    Does it involve math or reading stuff?
    What does my Twitter feed feel about it? 

    • #26
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    The whole truth thing is like so five minutes ago. The real issues:

    Is it viral?
    Does it help or hurt Donald Trump and other racist homophobes?
    Does it involve math or reading stuff?
    What does my Twitter feed feel about it?

    No kidding. Now my head hurts again .  . . .

    • #27
  28. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Roderic (View Comment):
    Sorry that I’m not in sync with a some of conservatives on this, but being medically trained and educated, also trained in research and data analysis, I don’t think I could see it any differently.  

    Does your information Trump the information of people with similar backgrounds then you or are there enough unknowns for their to be sound debate?

    Both your assertions have enough contradictory data to be heavily debatable.

    • #28
  29. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):
    Contributor Susan Quinn @SusanQuinnPost author 4 Hours Ago

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):
    Your observation is not far from a summary of the careers of AOC and Mayor Pete.

    Now, now, AOC was a bartender for a time . . .

    Yes.  Actually, I was thinking of Debbie W. Schultz and Anthony Wiener, who both have poli. sci. degrees and and went straight into politics out of college, never having held a real job, as if that’s their real job; and high-level suits like Chuck Schumer who have criticized some Republicans for being “unprofessional” in their thinking or responses, as if being a politician were a career choice and a profession that took years of post-graduate education and a specialized body of knowledge, and called for a moral, ethical and social behavioral standards unique to the profession like an attorney, doctor or priest.

    • #29
  30. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):
    Your observation is not far from a summary of the careers of AOC and Mayor Pete.

    Now, now, AOC was a bartender for a time . . .

    And bartenders are being replaced by simple machines.

    • #30