Learning to Live in a Post Fact Society

True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post Fact Society



I read True Enough: Learning to Live In a Post Fact Society.  It can both be an interesting and infuriating book.

The author takes the position that people have so many sources of information these days because of the internet that people will find support for belief for any of their kooky ideas.  Because these people find support from their fellow kooks they think that the idea is more prevalent than it really is and find comfort in having an online consensus, even if it is among just a few fringe idiots, so to speak.

So we need to find a way to cope with these things.  The author believes and I agree that we need to so something to regain the trust that has been lost.  

It is an interesting concept and something worth thinking about, especially about the media working to regain the trust of the people.

The author takes a bit of a high handed position that if you don’t agree with the narrative laid down by the mainstream media, then you are a kook.  The author believes that Global Warming is caused by humans, Sen. John Kerry has been completely honest about his military record (which he still refuses to completely release), the 9/11 Commission Report is completely accurate, the 2000 and 2004 Presidential Elections were completely legitimate without any sort of chicanery or shennanigans, Lou Dobbs has lost his mind, and there is a problem of trusting your gut instead of all of the facts that are presented to you.

What is missing from the book and the analysis is the acknowledgment that sometimes governments and the media are not completely honest with the people.  Sometimes propaganda wins the day instead of an objective look at the facts.  The well documented cases of these lies come from Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia where the government controlled the media and the lies were rampant and more or less undetectable from the standpoint of the common citizen of these countries.  

I am pretty distrustful of the motives of government officials, political appointees, and the broadcast journalism in general.  CNN admittedly was covering for Saddam Hussein and not reporting on unsavory things in order to maintain a media presence in Bagdad.  Too many people are self interested to the point of pushing a lie.  Sometimes “facts” are fabricated for public consumption.  Dan Rather and the National Guard memo are just one example (CBS admitted the documents were fake).  Dateline NBC and the exploding Chevy Trucks is another (Dateline broadcast a formal apology for the story).  Ford Motor Company and the Bridgestone tire problems that were covered up for too long and caused many unnecessary accidents (Ford offered a class action settlement for the problem but issued a recall overseas before the problem was revealed in the United States).  Drug Companies lie all the time to get drugs to market that have fatal side effects and problems (Vioxx, Phen-Fen, Thalidomide, and others).

When there are so many lies and personal interests at stake for our purported truth tellers, how do you know the truth?  In reality, sometimes the only way to know the truth is to be open to other points of view that are different than yours, to politely listen with the intent to be influenced and maybe you will come to a better idea of where the truth is.  Another tried and true method is to read from the Book of Mormon everyday and listen to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.  Moroni 10:5 makes it clear that the Holy Ghost can reveal to us the truth of all things, not just things about gospel knowledge.

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