I had a couple of interesting quotes cross my desk last week.
“You can fool all of the people all of the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough.”
Joseph E. Levine
“The enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.” John F Kennedy
Too often I hear people repeating myths as though they were facts. Rumors and gossip also fall into this category and when a group on a campaign seize upon a myth and put some advertising dollars behind it the myth can easily become the prevailing idea.
The availability of “instant uncorroborated news” from sources everywhere via the internet has compounded this issue and made it more important than ever to investigate, explore and verify information before treating it as factual.
Every election campaign, every issue campaign carries with it the persistent myth fueled by a big budget advertising campaign. I am constantly surprised at the things people believe because they read it somewhere or heard it somewhere or saw it somewhere. This is not a new phenomenon; how many of you remember seeing Jack Parr’s spaghetti harvest? People actually phoned the station the following day wanting to know how they could grow spaghetti.
YouTube, Wikipedia and your Inbox are not repositories of perpetual truth, neither for that matter are the local media. Before you pass on to your network of friends and neighbours a politicians salary, a perceived violation of rights and freedoms or the impact of policy ideas, check your facts with a reliable source. Too many times we rush to judgment and are slow to repent when the truth comes out.
With silly season (pre-election time) well underway municipally and the possibility of a provincial election looming, it would be prudent for all of us to check our facts and be responsible for our decisions.
The Provincial Government has provided us with an interesting and useful new source for data (facts). They have consolidated all of the data from the different ministries on one site -http://www.data.gov.bc.ca/ - and while it still takes some mining to find the info you are looking for it is much easier than it was.