Everyone Can’t be Right
By Evelyn Pyburn
In reporting about the media misrepresentations, regarding Representative Kerri Seekins-Crowe’s experience in discussing the transgender issue of SB-99 during the state legislature, she said that after asking one reporter about why he wasn’t interested in her side of the story, he told her that while he didn’t want to lie, since the issue was “politics” he could basically “portray any truth he wants to.”
Although the statement is stunning, because he was so forthright it brought some enlightenment.
One of the most troublesome things in dealing with politics is the uncertainty one always faces in trying to decide the truth. No matter what side of the isle a politician comes from they are often masters at obfuscating the truth in self-serving ways. It’s almost a game to figure out what they aren’t saying or to untangle the words they do say.
Because of this, has media concluded that there are no rules when it comes to reporting political issues – that anything goes? A particularly troubling conclusion, since these issues are usually incredibly important.
The outspoken reporter helped to understand that maybe many in media have concluded that when dealing with politics there is no truth and its ok to report whatever feels good. Maybe this is how media has come to be so unreliable and so political itself. Rather than a source of enlightenment media has taken on the hue of politics, and one has to be wary about what to accept as solid facts— or the greater likelihood to realize that many consequential facts are left out of the information put forth.
While life brings the lesson that for the most part everyone has their own “truth”, given that contradictions cannot exist, we must also know that not all of them are right. While I can have empathy with the wistful bromide that in life some things that aren’t true should be true, saying so doesn’t make it so.
Much of our success as individual human beings depends upon how accurately we identify truth – how well we understand reality. If it’s a reality we want to change, that’s fine, but one is not going to be successful in changing anything that is not clearly understood.
Since there are so many different conclusions that people reach about truth, the ideal role of media is to bring as much information and ideas to the fore as possible, so each person can come to their own conclusions. To attempt to dictate truth, whether by media or anyone else, is the height of hubris – unless of course you are an individual who is never wrong.
When I am asked how to find objective information, my answer is that objective information is the responsibility of the inquiring individual. Get information from a broad range of sources. To sort through all kinds of conflicting data and distill it to what is real is the purpose of having a brain—of having the ability to reason. It is the defining characteristic of human beings. If one is counting on others to do this, good luck! That approach makes you vulnerable to serving the purpose of others—such as this reporter.
Gathering as much information as possible is our means of survival, which is why freedom of speech and access to information is so important. It is why censorship is such a despicable thing. Anyone who censors, twists or lies the information they present, is your enemy . . they are attacking your very ability to survive.