Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Liar, liar, pants on fire

As often as possible, I avoid writing about religion and politics, since both topics seem to inflame passions beyond the tipping point. For that reason, this article isn’t about either one of them.

It's about reading.

All of us learned how to read in first grade. What all of us DIDN’T learn how to do is to read (or listen) CRITICALLY, which I would define as acquiring the ability to quickly determine whether whatever you happen to be reading (or listening to) at the moment is either likely to be true, or likely to be false.

I spent roughly 27 years as an insurance underwriter, which made me naturally skeptical of any information that I hadn’t taken the time to check out personally, especially information that I perceive as negative.

Unfortunately, there’s a large number of people in our country who no longer read at all, and get all of their information from television or talk radio. The problem with TV, and talk radio, is that neither medium allows time for reflection, or quick spot checking of facts. I have no way of measuring, but my guess is that the folks who listen to National Public Radio, and watch MSNBC, are also pretty well read people.

However, if the viewers (or listeners) are listening to, or watching, an unreliable news source (like FOX News), they’re going to make some serious errors of judgment on a wide variety of topics.

I’ll be the first to admit that I spend more time than I should on the computer. In addition to the four newspapers I read every day, I also get news from a variety of other sources, both “conservative” and “liberal”.

Let me quickly add that there is nothing inherently wrong with having either a conservative or a liberal point of view, and I’ll also admit that I’ve been in both camps at various parts of my life.

In my lifetime, I’ve been exposed to a number of “conservatives” who were actually very good people - George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, and Barry Goldwater, no name a few.

In order to answer the question “so what IS a conservative?”, I’d like to refer you to an article that recently appeared in my “old hometown” newspaper, the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

do you know how to talk Minnesotan?

In the last decade or so, though, Big Money and Big Oil interest groups have caused at least some of the “conservatives” among us to become more extreme, and a lot less truthful.

As succinctly as I can, here are some quick examples of a little “bending of the truth”:

1) Al Armendariz recently resigned from the EPA due to an unfortunate choice of words in a speech that he gave two years ago.

Self described ultra conservative Bob Livingston had this to say about the resignation:

they’re all out to get us

The more moderate Huffington Post looked at things a little differently:

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

Although more than one of the Republican Presidential candidates has expressed a desire to dismantle the EPA, many of them seem to have forgotten that the Environmental Protection Agency came into being during a Republican administration (Nixon), which also passed the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.

Although Love Canal achieved a fair amount of notoriety in the late 1970’s, the location that actually led to the 1980 passage of the Superfund law (officially, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980) was the little known “Valley of the Drums” in Kentucky.

More than 30 years later, there are still a number of locations in this country that are pretty scary places. The link below provides of list of 28 of them:

this place gives me the willies

2) “Obama bashing”

We’ve all seen unbelievable stores that are linked to Barack Obama. As of this week, has investigated 317 rumors about Obama. All but 20 are FALSE. The remainder are a mixture of truth and fiction:

sticks and stones may break my bones …

3) the Koch brothers

The Koch brothers recently spent more than $6,000,000 on some ads that were critical of the current administration:

cross my heart and hope to die.

The only appropriate comment that I can add at this point can be found at the link below:

why is that girl dancing like that?

If the Koch brothers were a cartoon character, they would look like this:

4) Rush Limbaugh

Years ago, I used to enjoy listening to Rush expound on the air. As it turns out, a number of the “facts” that Rush tosses out to his listening audience aren’t exactly the truth. To learn more about Mr. Limbaugh, I’d recommend reading a book written by Minnesota’s newest Senator, Al Franken:

Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot

5) Wonder bread builds strong bodies 12 ways

The makers of Wonder Bread and Twinkies recently filed for bankruptcy for the second time, for a very strange reason - the government took too seriously their claim that their bread helped build strong bodies 12 ways, and wanted them to prove it:

are you serious?

The truth is that Wonder Bread DOES contain added vitamins and minerals, which you can read about at the link below:

the history of Wonder Bread

6) Is KFC chicken REALLY made with 11 secret spices?

Rumor has it that the original recipe was destroyed in 1964, and no one knows for sure what the spices actually are. It’s also been rumored that some locations skip on the ingredients in order to save money:

are you sure what you’re eating?

If you’ve had the patience to read through the more than 1000 words in this article, you’ve probably come to the same conclusion that I have: sometime the truth matters, and sometime it doesn’t. If you’re interested in getting “just the facts”, then you deserve to see a couple of versions of St. Joe Friday one more time.:

When I was a kid, one of my favorite shows on TV was “Dragnet”, which was aired from 1951 thought 1959, and also from 1967 through 1970.

Due to some clever editing, you can watch the pairing of Sgt. Joe Friday and our current President:

what a dangerous Webb you weave

The original version is posted below:

who ARE those kids?

To quote Forrest Gump, “that’s all that I got to say”.

No comments:

Post a Comment