You want the truth?! You can’t handle the truth!

Do you believe everything you hear?

Moscow’s newspaper during the days of the Soviet Union was called “Pravda”.

In Russian “Pravda” means Truth. 

Everyone who lived under the dictatorship of the communist regime knew that “Pravda” really meant whatever the government wants you to believe. Those of us living during those days sadly shook our heads.

We knew what the Russian people knew—“Pravda” really meant Falsehood.

It seems that not much has changed.

In America today, people do not trust newspaper coverage. Americans believe that journalists cannot be trusted to be fair. Gallup reports this past week that U.S. distrust in media is at an all time high.

To most who read newspapers headlines carry as much weight as pick-up-lines.

Every Monday morning a journalist named Cokie Roberts offers her assessment of the political scene on National Public Radio. After hearing her interpretation of the news, Roberts leaves little doubt as to her political leanings: Romney has had multiple missteps and gaffes while the president has some rusty debating skills.

Fill-in-the-blank newspaper, talk radio show, TV commentator, or internet blog: the news is not reported, the news is spun.

To be blunt, the day Bill O’Reilly really has a “no spin zone” is the day John Stewart asks a hard question of a liberal guest on his show.

I heard that David Letterman declared himself to be an “independent” just after having Mr. Obama on his show.

Who believes that?

So-called “journalism” has become nothing more than personal opinion.

But we should not be surprised.

Americans themselves believe personal opinion trumps anyone’s “Pravda”.

We get what we give: the only truth that counts is our own.

So I’m not surprised that we Americans distrust the media or defame journalism.

Yet, every once in a while, someone does speak truth.

Robert Samuelson’s opinion piece in The Washington Post spoke volumes.

Samuelson placed the blame where it belongs: on public opinion.

The chasm between stump rhetoric and governing realities will haunt whoever wins. It also defines a dilemma of democracy. People want their leaders to tell the truth, but they often don’t want to hear the truth. Genuine leaders escape this trap by persuading public opinion to acknowledge distasteful problems. But these leaders are rare. Most pursue immediate popularity over truth even if this deepens long-term public mistrust.

“People don’t want to hear the truth.” 

Jack Nicholson’s character did not go far enough.

The problem is not that we can’t handle the truth.

The problem is we have seen the truth and don’t want it.

The words of Jesus seem appropriate: “he who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Mark wants us all to come clean: don’t parrot another person’s point of view.  Read, study, learn, and come to a conclusion based on the facts, not someone’s interpretation of them.


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