A Crisis of Truth

Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  Then later in the narrative, Pilate says to Jesus, “What is truth?!”  Modern philosophy, Rorty, for instance, says that there is no truth, only persuasion and opinion.  He is not saying that truth is relative to the individual, he is saying that there is no such thing as truth.  In fact, he doesn’t even say that.  He says, rather, that he will not argue a point [read truth], but instead persuade you to talk like him.  It would seem that contemporary journalism takes to heart the words of Pilate and Rorty, if I may paraphrase, “Who cares about the truth.”

Some of the most outlandish persuasion is broadcast on stations like Fox and Brietbart.  Persuasion that isn’t supported with facts–and facts do exist.  My favorite station is MSNBC.  They present facts, disturbing facts.  But what bothers me about this network is their rhetoric.  There is a crisis every day.  Every distasteful fact becomes a constitutional crisis.  And believe me, there are plenty of distasteful facts with Trump.  But that doesn’t justify a whole day of the same distasteful fact from 5 or so newscasters in succession, hour after hour.  There are other important facts to report, Chicago streets, employment stats, economic indicators, world events, how many and which regulations Trump repealed.

What I would like to see more of is balance in news.  Balance, and facts.  When I want a good laugh and fantasy fiction, I watch FOX.  When I have an unholy hatred for Trump, I watch MSNBC.  Neither are healthy diversions.  I’m old enough to remember Walter Cronkite.  He could say, “That’s the way it is,” and I could believe him.  Now, we are bombarded with messages that all say, “Nobody really knows the way it is, or cares.”

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