FLOWER MOUND, TX — September 8, 2021 — The meaning of truth has been debated by philosophers and religious scholars for thousands of years. Dictionaries define truth as that which is in accordance with reality. Among other definitions are, “that which can be verified or corroborated,” or “truth, unlike opinions, is not open to debate.” Yet, it seems like every news story must be carefully scrutinized and debated because people have come to realize the lack of objectivity in the media. It should come as no surprise that the so-called “mainstream media” is overwhelmingly liberal in their coverage. (Yes, I know they call themselves “progressives” these days, but that’s only because the term “liberal” became a pejorative after the disastrous Jimmy Carter presidency, which ushered in the conservatism of President Reagan.)
Nevertheless, the concept of truth should have nothing to do with political philosophy. The Constitution provided this great republic with a First Amendment, giving the press the power to rattle the cages of government when it violated the freedom which inspired the birth of this nation. In addition, the press was to be a watchdog against corruption in those hallowed halls on the Potomac. Does anyone believe that the media is doing its job in a fair and impartial manner? Even the least perceptive reader or viewer of the news can spot the subtle insertions of animosity by writers or media talking heads. Although this politically-motivated behavior has roots that precede the Tammany Hall days of Boss Tweed in the mid-1800s, it generally didn’t have a deleterious effect on our physical health.
Sadly, we’re now in an era in which truth or lies can determine whether we live or die. I’m referring to the pandemic and all the information associated with it. As sensible septuagenarians, my wife and I, when learning about a vaccine that would prevent Covid-19, made the decision to get the shots. There were some people, of all ages, that were expressing their doubts about injecting a serum into their bodies before it was FDA approved. While that thought also occurred to us, the aggressiveness of the disease, coupled with the traditional sluggishness of the FDA, helped us arrive at what we still believe was a judicious decision.
However, it wasn’t long before major news sources, with a jump start from social media, began putting a seed of doubt in our fertile imagination. “People who took the vaccine are dying,” and “Masks are causing respiratory problems for seniors” read some of the headlines. While the preceding statements were true, they represented merely a tiny fraction of the affected groups. Therefore, instead of articles declaring the vast number of vaccinated and mask-wearing folks that didn’t have a problem, the “if it bleeds, it leads” school of headline-grabbing editors opted for the bad news. Inasmuch as we’re all influenced by what we see and hear, it’s become increasingly more difficult to deal with conflicting information that strains our ability to discern the truth. With polar opposites in the major political parties, and news networks that contradict each other every day, how are we supposed to make prudent judgments on a variety of significant concerns?
Let’s be honest; we rely on the media to keep us up to date on topics of interest. We only know what they tell us and show us. There was a time in which we could do our own research, but that was when most of the reliable sources could be counted on to cut through the politics and give us something that hadn’t been tainted with the odious stench of radical posturing. Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have become a tyrannical cabal, distributing left wing orthodoxy like drug cartels dispense meth and heroin. Those propaganda machines inject poison into our minds instead of our veins.
We can’t even trust our own eyes when we watch video clips, because they can, and often are, edited to provide only one side of an issue. Has truth become a challenge to journalism? A better question might be, how can you call yourself a journalist if you can’t overcome your propensity for partisan coverage? Perhaps I’m overstating the power of the media, but I think it’s fair to say that information is the force behind our motivations. When a video clip can trigger riots across the country in a matter of minutes it reveals the dangerous implications of distorted news. If we are to survive as a free and healthy nation, we must have truth in our reportage. Speaking truth to power takes courage, especially when it shines a light on what that power does in the dark.
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Bob Weir is a veteran of 20 years with the New York Police Dept. (NYPD), ten of which were performed in plainclothes undercover assignments. Bob began a writing career about 16 years ago and had his first book published in 1999. He also became a syndicated columnist under the title “Weir Only Human.”