That say in politics that you should believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear. So when celebrated journalist Seymour Hirsh released his “alternative history” of the war or terror – specifically his account that Osama bin Laden’s death was more akin to a hit from a Mario Puzo novel than an intricate military incursion – the age old question that every citizen ponders at least once has popped up again: how much can you really believe from your government?
But did the truth ever really matter? In this political landscape, is there such a thing as “truth” anymore? Probably not. Does that mean that we should stop searching for truth? Absolutely not. Now, more than ever, in this over-politicized, media-drenched world, a healthy dose of truth is desperately needed. Here’s some reality of today’s political landscape:
- (Some) Secrecy is necessary. Secrecy protects our troops, our citizens and our interests at home and overseas. Secrecy is part of strategy. Let’s face it: there are things we need to know at the time they are happening, and things that we should come to know after they are finished. But when the dust settles, secrets remain for a lot longer than they should. And to protect those secrets…
- Governments lie. People within governments lie. Whether it is at the local, state, federal or international level, you cannot deny that governments don’t always tell the whole truth. It can be NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s touting of a successful start-up program that actually created a total of 76 jobs in a year. Or it can be the loss of a certain government official’s emails which happen to be found a year later. Or it can be a shovel-ready funding program that is jokingly called “not so” shovel ready.
Every government shades the truth for a reason – some good, some bad, some criminal. Mostly all for political ends. But it is undeniable that it happens.
- News outlets don’t report truth, they sell content. The news is no longer a “public trust”. It is big business. It’s sell rates and advertising and ratings and market demographics and anything but straight reporting. Face it – we live in a society where Jon Stewart was more trusted for news than Brian Williams – and it then turns out that people were right to think that way.
I mean, look at us – my podcast, Behind Enemy Lines, isn’t a news source! We are “advocacy entertainment” – like the rest of those “trusted” sources out there.
You agree with all of that, right? Well here’s an inconvenient truth directed right at you that matters more than all the rest.
- You don’t care about the truth. At least, most of you don’t. We live in “echo chambers” of knowledge thanks to target media that feed us what we believe, not what is true. You like your information filtered. Neatly. In a140-character social media-tinged, click-baited “You Won’t Believe What Happened Next” world. Everything is neatly packaged, wrapped up tight, and ahem… colored to your preference.
When is the last time you sought out a primary source? When did you last read a full transcript of a speech? How often do you attend local community meetings to find out your local “truth”?
Maybe if we all did that a little more, a little more truth would be out there for public consumption, like the good ol’ days.
Or maybe I’m naive that truth ever existed even in the good ol’ days.