What happened to the truth? I remember it but I'm not exactly certain when it packed up and left town. I think it was around the time that ESPN started showing SportsCenter highlights hour after hour each morning rather showing Australian Rules football matches, that the truth started to lose its relevance. There may not be a direct correlation but for my purposes I'll blame it on Chris Berman.
There was once value in the truth. Or at least I imagine there was. When people disagreed they often drew upon facts to to try to persuade others to their point of view. Now that no longer seems to be the case and there aren't any consequences.
As a quiz, which of these statements are true?
- Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years.
- Abortion services are well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.
- Republicans voted to end Medicare.
- We are only inches away from no longer being a free economy
Answer: None of these statements are true.
Senator Harry Reid made the first statement this summer during the deluge of Democratic politicians calling on Mitt Romney to release more than two years of tax records. In his defense he added that he wasn't certain what he way saying was true. In Mitt Romney's defense there is no law or regulation that requires a presidential candidate to release his tax records. My response to Harry Reid is that Joe Biden wants to eat your children, although I'm not certain that is true.
Earlier this year John Kyl, on the floor of the Senate, stated "If you want an abortion you go to Planned Parenthood and that's well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." In his defense his office put out a clarification that his statements weren't intended to be factual. He also deleted the phrase from the Congressional Record. So it is John Kyle intent to make things up when speaking on floor of the Senate and his office would like to remind us that we shouldn't assume his statements are factual. This places him in the same credibility category as a carnival barker.
The Tampa Bay Times won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for its PolitiFact.com web site, no doubt due largely to the current condition where public figures no longer tell the truth and all other media outlets no longer bother to verify whether those public figures are telling the truth. The PolitiFact.COM 2011 "Lie of the Year" was the oft-repeated statement that Republicans voted to end Medicare. The laundry list of Democrats who repeated this lie is so long I might develop carpal tunnel syndrome as I typed the list, so I must move along.
Mitt Romney stated that the US is inches away from no longer being a free economy back in January of this year during the Republican debates in New Hampshire, where the state motto is "Live Free or Die." Because it was a debate and having to tell the truth during a debate would make a candidate have to be prepared and think REALLY hard perhaps he could be excused. Unfortunately that wasn't the only, or the first, time the candidate used that particular line. The first was June of last year when he announced his intention to run for President. He used it again at a debate in Iowa in August of 2011. The conservative Heritage Foundation produced an economic freedom ranking in 2011 of all countries which refutes this statement. In his defense it may be either that Mitt Romney is not a conservative or that he's not familiar with the Heritage Foundation.