October 18, 2007

What's the Truth?

"Isvestia nye Pravda, y Pravdya nye Isvestia (The news isn't the truth, and the truth isn't the news)" (6)

It seems you can't trust anything these days. As shown in the Intro and Chapter 1 of It Ain't Necessarily So, what the viewer/reader learns through the various news outlets isn't always the whole story. The quote above is an excellent way of describing what we are missing in our news- the truth. But what exactly is the truth anyway?

I'll admit it- I'm not very news-smart. When given a statistic or some fact (like according to a random study, chocolate has been shown to cure headaches), I don't often question the parts I'm not hearing- what were the conditions of the study, what was the exact number it helped, or where did the statistic come from and who paid to find out this information (like a political organization with an agenda). I, like most other Americans (and even not Americans, I'm sure), take the news at face value and just believe what I'm told. Chocolate cures headaches? Sweet (get it?), give me that Hershey's bar. Never you mind that it only worked on a small tribe located in southern Australia.

As Chapter 1 illustrates, the reader/viewer has gotten into the habit of believing what we are told or shown because so much info is left out of the news because it doesn't make the cut. I feel like, if we only hear the bad instead of the good (or vice versa), we're always only getting a half story for everything. While the truth may not always be as interesting as skewing the facts one way or the other, or only giving half of the arguement, it is still the news, and should be reported on along with the half-truths.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at October 18, 2007 2:41 PM | TrackBack

I absolutely love the chocolate analogy! If that sweet, creamy goodness could actually help cure headaches, then I'm sure that stores wouldn't be able to keep it on thier shelves. I also really liked how you tied in the Russian quote. It proves the adage right where you can't believe everything that you read. Then again, does that mean that you can automatically believe everything you hear or see? Nope. We have to sort through the lines of words and find out things for ourselves.

I too agree with your thoughts that we only get half of the story when we aren't told about the details that were left out. It's kinda like we're colorblind and we're looking at a spam filter that wants us to identify the differently hued numbers. Now if we cut out some pieces of the numbers we'll be completely left at the mercy of half-truths!

Posted by: Maddie Gillespie at October 18, 2007 5:32 PM

I do agree with you that sometimes we as the reader or viewer are not given the entire truth. We want to know who, what, when, where, how, and why so fast, we will settle for anything regardless if it seems accurate. We are blinded by the fact we are not given both sides of a subject, that we become biased with what we are given without hearing the whole truth. I'm just now understanding why we are being taught to tell the entire truth. Wow Epiphany......

Posted by: Tiffany Gilbert at October 18, 2007 6:05 PM

I've also fallen victim to taking my news for face-value. When reading print articles or watching a tv broadcast, I rarely pause to consider the reporter's source of information (my sociology teacher would be so disappointed).

As products of a generation so clearly bombarded with one-sided stories, I'm starting to wonder how this will impact future journalists. Will blatant opinion columns come to out number true news? I doubt it. But, it may become even harder for journalism students to learn to leave their opinions behind.

Posted by: Jackie Johns at October 18, 2007 7:19 PM

I totally never think of what goes on behind the scenes, that what we read may only be a fraction of the truth. The journalist is supposed to be objective, yet we cannot help but be subjective because we have to make decisions of what we heard during our interviews should go into our articles...so we are in a subjective business.

There is no possible way, when we are in a position of making choices, to have "immaculate perception"

Posted by: Daniella Choynowski at October 18, 2007 8:03 PM

I love your humor in your blogs...but on a more serious note, I agree with you and so many others. I get lost in the statistics and overlook that "actual" news because of it. I also agree that many other people are on the same boat. Is the news really as cryptic as I think it is, or is the press just as confused as we are?

Posted by: Bethany Merryman at October 18, 2007 10:40 PM

Exactly my thoughts (nice using chocolate as an example) but I agree, I used to always just accept these statistics, no questions asked. It really would be nice if the news didn't make so many cuts and hold truth from the public too. It's in the journalists hands to decide what is nessasary, but when it comes down to it, really we are just putting in what is intrestingly nessaray enough(if that makes sense)

Posted by: Carrie Kraszewski at October 19, 2007 12:09 AM
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