This morning I was reading 16 of the Dumbest Things Americans Believe — And the Right-Wing Lies Behind Them by Sarah Seltzer on AlterNet.
Sarah raises some very good points about why the right wing is allowed to continually mislead (lie) the public and get away with it because apparently everyone else thinks it’s rude to call someone out on a lie. (Let’s be honest falsities are not limited strictly to the right wing either and I’ve seen some fairly loony things posted on AlterNet too.)
I hate to use terms like “Truth” and “Lie” because for some reason, their definitions are in the eyes of the beholder. So I prefer to use the term “Facts”. Facts stand resolute. Facts are facts and nothing changes facts. Facts can be checked. Facts are indisputable. Facts are testable.
In fact, “Fact Checking” is becoming extremely popular. (go ahead look it up) So why isn’t the media doing more of it? Why are news organizations allowing bloviators like Rush Limbaugh to make outrageous statements nowhere near the neighborhood of fact based reality without calling him out on it? What ever happened to journalistic integrity?
Whatever happened to “Liar, Liar Pants On Fire”?
Has political correctness so screwed things up in this country that correcting blatant ignorance is deemed impolite? That we have to show both sides to an argument even when one side is patently false? Are we afraid to allow complete nincompoops to have their feelings hurt?
Enough of this nonsense.
If someone presents an outright falsehood call them on it. Don’t say, “Well we need to show the “other side” to the climate change argument”. There is no other side. Climate change is a reality. The other side (fossil fuel industry, namely coal) is providing doctored information from non-credentialed sources just to throw a spin and legimatize a dying industry. (Much like the tobacco companies kept throwing out info that smoking was harmless.) Why do people not get this? Are they that short sighted? Is the collective short term memory of this country in pre-dementia stage?
So if the media isn’t going to do it for you then it’s up to you to check your facts. Take nothing for granted, no matter who says it and confirm with multiple sources. It doesn’t matter whether they are offering you some magic fruit juice, an imaginary friend in the sky or somebody begging your vote or changing our political system, check your facts and follow the money trail.
And if any emails you receive also include some reference to “god” or “blessings” or some other nonsense, make sure to respond to them reminding them that one of the Big Ten Commandments is “Thou shall not bear false witness” (Alleged “christians” always trip over this hypocrisy.)
Pay attention to the following words from Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling from his 1954 Stockholm address:
“When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect – but do not believe him. Never put your trust in anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or has lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel Laureate, may be wrong. The world progresses, year by year, century by century, as the members of the younger generation find out what was wrong among the things that their elders said. So you must always be skeptical – always think for yourself.”
Writing letters to your newspaper and to your local tv stations or networks isn’t a bad idea either, remind them about Journalism 101. Tell them to “Check the damn facts!”
For additional help here is a short list of recommended fact checking sites (not listed in order of importance or usefulness.):