Only God Knows Why


Spy VS Spy
April 14, 2010, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

I was recently having an argument with someone about a hot button political issue in Australia at the moment (no, not the AFL fixture or the cricket for a change).  I will admit up front that this argument occurred on, of all things, that excellent political platform Facebook.  I updated my status about a particularly maligned group who I have been working with, stating my disgust with a recent policy that affects them.  Maybe using Facebook as my agora I should have expected what I got but I figured, hey, what’s good for the Obama is good for the gander.

 I got a few interesting replies.  Apparently, whoever wrote “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,”  forgot to add, “around misinformed buffoons.”   One reply was so poorly thought out I received a private message from my brother saying, “Who are these rednecks you allow to be friends with you?”  (My brother deserves a post of his own, in all honesty, but not this one.)  This Facebook friend spouted absolute groundless arguments that had obviously been regurgitated King Penguin style straight from one tabloid journalist or another. (I’ve always wondered why the term is “journal”ist anyway.  Things would be very different if all journalists had to write for peer-reviewed journals.  We should be called well-educated gossips.)  I typed out my counter-argument with machine gun fingers prancing from the home keys and went back to proofread.   

I realised, in my re-reading, that the way I had phrased something had led my argument to be quite, well, misleading to downright wrong.  Fortunately for me, what I had accidentally said actually added a bit more weight to my argument than intended.  I deleted it without thinking and rephrased so that the real facts were obvious and clear, hit post and wondered what I was doing with my life that I could Facebook in the middle of the day.

It was only a few seconds later, when more hate-fuelled vitriol was spewed below my opus that I paused to consider what had happened.  This person, who was obviously bending truth saplings so much that they broke into out and out lies had the obvious advantage.  I had, without thinking, deleted an argument that would have been very effective, save for the fact it was wrong.  This person did not seem to be phased by this same problem.

The problem is that the “good guys” have to fight with one hand tied behind their backs.

This seems to be for two reasons:

1.  Those who are peddling the misinformation already obviously have no ethical problem with doing so.  Whereas those in possession of the truth feel the need to behave ethically and be honestly informative.

2.  If people find out the media tell a sensationalist lie, no one is surprised.  When someone on the side of good misrepresents something, all their credibility is lost and their whole argument is rejected.  Mud doesn’t stick if you’re already covered in it.

For example, if climate change figures were found to be even slightly incorrect, the whole position lost cre(e)dence to the public.  Whereas the climate change deniers were left to go on singing “Willy and the Poor Boys” well into the night. 

It really seems, when it comes to the truth, when you’re saying 99, “Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do).”  Okay, enough with the CCR puns. 

If the media, like Fred Astaire were singing

“I joined the Navy to see the world, and what did we see?  We saw the -”

Those with the truth, would feel compelled to say: Sea.

Whereas the tabloid media could say: Unauthorised boat arrivals arriving in plague proportions coming to steal your front lawn!

While there are some issues that are a matter of opinion, there is some cases where the truth is the truth.  Well, it it is if you’re on the right side.

I’m afraid this post may have turned out as an unintelligible mess, but I hope the general point is intact.  Perhaps I should learn to separate my emotions from my posts.  I certainly was attacked for having an emotional reaction to this particularly issue we were discussing.

However, I suppose a post is always going to be clear as mud when your point is:  Having the truth is excellent because it’s the truth, save from the fact you’re bound to having to tell it.

While I’m no Leonard Cohen in saying  “Everybody knows the war is over, everybody knows the good guys lost,”  I am saying that ethics can seem to hold you back while the other side fights as dirty as it likes. 

This makes it your job, as media consumers, to make sure you’re getting as informed as possible.  In regards to this particular issue I was discussing with this gentleman, take the time to be informed and visit these websites:

http://www.asrc.org.au/ ; http://www.asrc.org.au/uploads/File/MYTH%20BUSTER%202010.doc

http://www.amnesty.org.au/action/action/22830/

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/abbott-ignorant-on-boat-arrivals-20100408-ruyl.html

Thanks.

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