When I was growing up (in the dark ages) lying was a bad thing. In fact, to even call someone a liar was the ultimate insult. I once called someone slightly older than me a liar in front of my mother and she quickly let me know that was not acceptable behavior. Perhaps ‘old’ social mores are the reason why the media does not label the current shenanigans of elected officials as lies. However, if the truth were told, too much of what we hear from elected officials here in Washington, DC, in state capitols and town centers are filled with so many lies and half-truths it is hard for most of us to decipher the truth. In April 2017, Time magazine’s cover asked, “Is TruthDead?” This issue contained several articles that challenged our views on what is truth and shared the science behind how our brains process lies. They even shared their struggle with when to call our current President a liar, especially when it is so obvious that he is not telling the truth.
“We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.” Michelle Obama
Since the introduction of ‘alternative facts’ the truth has become even more elusive at a time when we really need the facts. Americans need the FACTS about climate change, mass incarceration, poverty, health care, and the economy to make informed decisions as we select our elected officials and vote for policies placed on our ballots. We need the facts to put pressure on our elected and selected leaders to legislate in ways that are helpful to the most people. We need public policy to be informed by evidence, not innuendo or a word salad of lies designed to distract us from what is important.
For today’s Mobilize Monday, WE CAN urges all of you to be even more discerning consumers of information. Maintain a healthy level of skepticism and seek verification of details before sharing the news as if it were the gospel. Follow these three tips to make truth matter again. Help shift our culture back to one where truth matters!
- Confirm your sources! Stop reading and sharing articles from dubious sources. Research by BuzzFeed revealed that fake news headlines fooled American adults about 75% of the time! If the news source doesn’t have a legitimate website address or if the person confesses that he lies for a living, stop reading or listening NOW.
- Identify a trusted news outlet. If your number one source of data
arethe excerpts in Facebook posts and you never, ever open the actual article to read the details. Just stop. Despite current attempts to discredit the media, most journalists are hard-working individuals seeking to shine a bright line on lies and half-truths. Find news outlets that have wonPulitzerPrizes and other awards that honor journalistic integrity.
- Investigate before sharing. Fact Check, Politifact, TheWashington Post’s Fact Checker, and Snopes are some of the most
respectedsourcesout there today.
Try your best not to fall victim to the sensationalist musing of someone who says incendiary things to make money. Ignore the lies and half-truths touted by politicians that are so easily disproved. Reject the hypocrisy that has become the norm and call it out whenever you can. And most importantly, educate yourself about the issues that are important to you!
Yours in the fight for justice,
Founder and President