There once was a very snappy author named Mark Twain. I am sure most of you are familiar with his books. He wrote, most notably, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” but he had a barrel full of other great ones, like “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court “ and “The Guilded Age.”
Anyway, Mark Twain had a quote for just about everything. And today, he might repeat one of his best ones. “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
At which point, Aldous Huxley would chime in, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
Such is the way of this world right now. Especially in our country. It appears we have two sets of people. Those who believe “A” and those who believe “B.”
It really amazes me beyond belief sometimes. How we got to this point. Perhaps technology is as much to blame as anything. In a moment’s notice, anyone, anywhere, can say anything.
Fifty years ago this wouldn’t have mattered. Farmer Brown could be standing out there with his cows, and say, “John Wayne likes to wear women’s clothes and eat blueberry PopTarts.” The cows may have turned their heads and chewed a little longer. But that is as far as it went. Just between you, Farmer Brown, and those udders.
Today, however, Brown could Tweet that nonsense, or post in on Facebook with some doctored-up-photo. His followers would re-Tweet, or post it to their FB walls. And before you know it, this craziness is the shot heard round the world. Of course, it is nonsense. Wayne liked Strawberry PopTarts.
Oh. Yes, the truth be told.
The other day, someone stopped me outside of a store in Eaton. They said, “We hear that barn of yours has a full kitchen, and three indoor restrooms. One on each floor.”
Of course, it does. And a troupe of Gnomes live in northern stalls, and every night they cook up a pot of Cricket Stew. “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
We have to be careful, that’s all. We have to listen, and be aware, at the same time. We must consider our sources. But even that is hard to do sometimes. We need to rely on the news media. Not the social media.
Here is one thing I know about journalism. I know some journalists. Reporting the truth is their highest priority. Getting the facts right was the only way. They are stringent about the ethics of this. The Press should be applauded, not condemned. They should not be receiving death threats at CNN.
Here is another thing I know about the Free Press. Our Constitution of the United States of America protects it. Therein, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
We can’t lose sight of this.
But. Then. What if we have two separate “truths” being told in the Press?
The rules of logic apply. If 20 separate and respectable news outlets (worldwide) are reporting something, and just one other news outlet is reporting something completely different, I have to wonder about that lone wrangler.
Another author named Stephanie Klein said this: “Tell the truth, or someone will tell it for you.”
I hope this is true.
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”
― Mark Twain, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
― Ernest Hemingway