Staff column: Relative truth is not real truth
This past weekend I got a email describing all the reasons a Muslim can't be a good American. And of course it went on to talk about Barack Obama, his connection to the Muslim religion and then the email ended with something like "Support our troops."
The analysis was an interesting but a largely false disection of the Muslim religion. In fact so much of it was fear mongering, that I am not going to go into detail. I have a number of Muslim associates, all of whom are American and none of whom feel they would adhere to much of what was said in that email as their beliefs.
As for the things in it about Obama, all were false. I checked it out on Snopes.com for the truth. One point in the email said that Muslims cannot be friends with people from other religions nor can they tolerate other religions. It basically stated that Muslims contend that no other religion than theirs is the true religion. That's really not that odd because I can name very few religions that don't think that they are the only true believers.
Now I am not particularly an Obama supporter, but just someone who believes in the truth. Sarah Palin has also come under attacks that are false in many ways too. She may have made mistakes on some stuff and tried to cover up her lack of knowledge on others, but she is not the blood thirsty neo-conservative many are making her out to be. She's just a home grown girl who doesn't have an Ivy League education so some in the media and political circles are taking her to the woodshed when she makes a mistake or has a life experience they don't understand.
As for religion, it has already been an issue for years. Mitt Romney, who was running before he got knocked out early in the primaries during this election cycle was roasted for being a Mormon and people questioned whether he could be a good president because they wondered if his allegiance would be to the president of the LDS church instead of the country.
The same was said of John Kennedy when he ran in 1960. People worried the Pope would be running the country instead of an Irish American from Massachusetts.
It's all the same thing. Bigotry works in many ways and some of those ways are very comfortable to the masses who believe everything they read on the internet or in the tabloids.
This is the problems I see with the internet and a lot of what is posted on it through websites and emails; no ethics, no verifiable sources, no editorial control, with many people using it to expouse what they think is fact when they have no proof other than suspicion and often bigotry. Opinion on the internet gets mixed with facts continually. And many pieces contain more than opinion; they contain fear.
I saw another email the other day that came to our office about all this negative rhetoric that Obama supposedly said about the United States, our flag and his non-allegiance to our system of government on Meet the Press in September. It was reportedly written by a man who is a columnist with the Washington Post. I checked it out and no one at the Post knows who the guy is. On top of that, Obama was not on Meet the Press (or Face the Nation which some claim he said it on) in September. The entire email was totally false yet I had people running around the office waving their arms and yelling about how terrible Obama is.
While it has taken a lot of time, I have been responding to almost everyone who sends me these kinds of emails with questions and corrections. The truth is more important than anything else in this world and I just want people to weigh all the real facts and then make up their minds about people and their beliefs.
That is what journalists are taught in good journalism schools around the country to do. Present the true facts and then let the public decide for themselves. It seems to me many internet posters have been taught by the National Enquirer school of journalism, where with only a little information about a situation, they go off half cocked and make suppositions that when examined, don't fit the facts.
Finally, people should always question what they read, see or hear, regardless of where it appears. Just because it has a journalists name on it, or it is in a well -known publication doesn't mean everything is always correct.
It's time to start looking for the truth, not falsehoods or sensationalism or what some of us want to believe. Spin from the candidates camps, or groups who support certain kinds of agendas, seldom hold much honesty.
Relative truth, which is what most of them expouse, is not real truth.