Truthiness on the March

lucy-p-marcus
Lucy P. Marcus

❝ The late US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” That may be true. But, entitled or not, politicians and electorates are constructing their own alternate realities – with far-reaching consequences.

❝ Nowadays, facts and truth are becoming increasingly difficult to uphold in politics…They are being replaced with what the American comedian Stephen Colbert calls “truthiness”: the expression of gut feelings or opinions as valid statements of fact. This year might be considered one of peak truthiness.

❝ To make good decisions, voters need to assess reliable facts, from economic data to terrorism analysis, presented transparently and without bias. But, today, talking heads on television would rather attack those with expertise in these areas. And ambitious political figures – from the leaders of the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom to US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump – dismiss the facts altogether…

❝ …The Iraq War was launched in 2003 under false pretenses. Intelligence reports had not established that there were weapons of mass destruction in the country, yet British Prime Minister Tony Blair dutifully followed US President George W. Bush in ordering his military to invade. The consequences of that decision are still emerging.

If our leaders can be so willfully wrong about such consequential matters, how can we believe anything they tell us? This question has opened the door for a new, more overt truthiness, espoused by the likes of Trump, who seems to introduce freshly invented “facts” on a daily basis. Trump’s surrogates, for their part, use television appearances and social media to restate the falsehoods, seemingly operating under the principle that if you repeat something often enough, it will become true…

RTFA for more details – if you need them. There is an added parallel example in the cupidity of British voters and how they were misled quite deliberately into the Brexit vote. Lies, agitprop both for and against voting at all. Not unlike Republicans who swear they haven’t a bigoted bone in their body – and never emit the slightest peep over that party’s vaguely-disguised voter suppression campaign.

2 thoughts on “Truthiness on the March

  1. Biàn liǎn says:

    “Truthiness is tearing apart our country, and I don’t mean the argument over who came up with the word. I don’t know whether it’s a new thing, but it’s certainly a current thing, in that it doesn’t seem to matter what facts are. It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that’s not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It’s certainty. People love the president because he’s certain of his choices as a leader, even if the facts that back him up don’t seem to exist. It’s the fact that he’s certain that is very appealing to a certain section of the country. I really feel a dichotomy in the American populace. What is important? What you want to be true, or what is true?” Stephen Colbert, AV Club interview, (25 January 2006) http://www.avclub.com/content/node/44705

    “Language has always been important in politics, but language is incredibly important to the present political struggle. Because if you can establish an atmosphere in which information doesn’t mean anything, then there is no objective reality. The first show we did, a year ago, was our thesis statement: What you wish to be true is all that matters, regardless of the facts. Of course, at the time, we thought we were being farcical.” Stephen Colbert, New York Magazine interview (16 October 2006) http://nymag.com/news/politics/22322/

    • Ништяк says:

      Stephen Colbert tells Russian TV he may run for US president: ‘A strong America, a strong Russia’ (6/24/17) http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/stephen-colbert-tells-russian-tv-he-may-run-us-president-strong-america-strong-russia-1627678 It was after downing shots of vodka on a Russian TV chat show that the US comedian announced he was thinking about running.
      “I am here to announce that I am considering a run for president in 2020, and I thought it would be better to cut out the middle man and just tell the Russians myself,” Colbert said to laughter and applause from the audience on late-night show Evening Urgant. In a dig at possible collusion between Trump’s campaign team and the Kremlin, he added: “If anyone would like to work on my campaign in an unofficial capacity, please just let me know.”

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