Monday, February 17, 2014

Fair and Balanced--The Latest Heresy

photo by Nate33
"You shall know the truth 

and the truth 

shall make you odd."

       --Flannery O'Connor

When Lyndon Johnson as a young man in Texas he applied to teach in the local school. One of the subjects he was to teach was science. When he was interviewed the Principal asked him, “What would he say to the students about evolution.” Johnson replied, “I can teach it either way.”

One of the strange ideas (or non-ideas) that is floating around these days is that the news must be fair and balanced. Which means: we have to have both sides of the argument. Every time? There are some subjects that are not up for votes or grabs. TV commentators and even mainline newspapers have gotten in on the band wagon. We want even talk about the web--except what purports to be news is often neither fair nor balanced nor true. 

All opinions are not the same. Patrick Daniel Moynihan said: “You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts.” Yet many persist that we are not all that sure about the facts.

  • Obama was born in Kenya. He is not a real American.
  • We have yet to see Obama’s real birth certificate.
  • The world began at 4,004 BC at 9:00 in the morning. Not sure about the time zone.
  • Obamacare is secretly in favor of death panels.
  • Slavery really was not as bad as we have been told.
  • Gays can be made straight through therapy and religion.
  • All the founding fathers were Christian.
  • Muslims are out to destroy this country.
  • Hispanics are bleeding this country dry.
  • Lawyers are all crooks.
  • Religion is for fools.
  • Atheists have no morals.
  • Voter fraud—one of most serious problems.
  • Blacks are inherently inferior and lazy.
  • There is no such thing as global warming.
  • Democrats are all socialists.
  • Republicans love the rich and hate the poor.

Want to read a scary article about this subject. Newsweek (on line) this week published a strong piece: “A Textbook Case for Anti-Science.” It tells of the Science textbooks that are giving equal treatment to evolution and anti-evolution.  Looks like a lot of folks are mixing facts and opinions.

Reminds me of something Lloyd Douglas, the writer said years ago. He had a friend who was a violin teacher. The old man was very wise. Douglas visited him one day and said, “Well, what’s the good news for today?” The old teacher moved across the room to a tuning fork that was suspended by a chord from the ceiling. The teacher struck the tuning fork with a mallet. “That is the good news for today. That, my friend, is an “A,” he said. “It was “A” all day yesterday. It will be an “A” all day tomorrow, next week and for a thousand years. “ He went on to add: “The soprano upstairs warbles off-key, the tenor next door flats his high notes, and the piano across the hall is out of tune. Noise all around me, noise; but that, my friend, is an “A”.

Pretty wise man if you ask me.




1 comment: