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August 13 2012


December 10 2009


Whither truth?

One of the problems of being a newsie…or a former newsie…is my truth-o-meter is very unforgiving. I put lying right up there with all of the other deadly sins…maybe even higher.

As Benjamin Disraeli once said, “There are lies, there are damned lies, and there are statistics.”

A damned lie to me is the times when you lie to yourself. You convince yourself of your own inability to lie…and you actually believe it despite very solid evidence otherwise. In fact, you may even try to persuade others that the reality they perceive is a lie.

Yeah…you’ve probably guessed, I’m a bit ticked at something. I know people lie…it is part of human nature. But somehow I keep expecting that they save it for special occasions (did you steal the cookies from the cooke jar? oh, no – not me).

I teach…and I teach videojournalism/broadcasting. Video – journalism. The latter part of the phrase is the key to my soul. There are times I hold the journalistic code of ethics up higher than any other societal code. Seek the TRUTH and tell it. Treat people with respect. There’s a whole lot in there that would make the world a better place if everyone followed it.

So when students lie to me, I usually take it in stride…but every now and then someone gets under my skin. Case in point: a student who consistently lies about very nearly everything, changing the lie to fit whatever they deem best for themselves. Whatever makes them look good. And the worst of it is – these are damned lies. This student seems to believe their own version of the truth…

Ah…what to do. Suggestions anyone?
Every time I’ve tried to point this out, the response is a temper tantrum and either a request to call a parent to point out I’m inhibiting their ability to learn or a request to complain to the administration. I’ve documented, referred to my wit’s end.

End of rant. Now for the meat of this rant.

What the heck are people teaching their children these days? Why are teachers/educators/school supposed to be the backbone of society? Why to I have to take someone else’s messed up progeny, attempt to turn it around, only to be told I’m wrong for trying to teach them a greater truth? That the child’s right to lie supersedes my perception of truth as a greater good? Maybe society is getting what it deserves.

I hope – I sincerely hope not.

We seem to be a nation adrift…one segment hugging onto values of the past and a larger segment more interested in what’s in it for them. One segment striving for excellence and the other claiming entitlement. I don’t want to live in such a society…and I especially don’t want my children to. For if what I perceive is true…then I have hobbled/handicapped my own children to a point where they will not be able to survive in a world where whoever can tell the most convincing lie wins.

Sleep on that (if your conscience lets you)….

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