My Dear NPR. You ain’t no saint, neither
My Dear NPR,
I am Sid Harth, not that it matters.
I shall chase you, like a panther chasing a rabbit. Yosselph, ain’t no saint, neither.
…and I am Sid Harth@mysistereileen.com
Jul 27, 2011 – Cogito Ergo Sum I think, Therefore, I am Sid Harth … ago – @mysistereileen.com @www.npr.org #mysistereileen, Oops, SarahPalin: Sid Harth.
4 days ago – My Sister Eileen is a 1955 American CinemaScope musical film … ago – @mysistereileen.com @www.npr.org #mysistereileen, Oops, SarahPalin: …
Apr 10, 2012 – …and I am Sid Harth@mysistereileen.com. April 10, 2012 …. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.
Jul 27, 2011 – Jun 19, 2011 – 7 hours ago – @mysistereileen.com @www.npr.org #mysistereileen, Oops, SarahPalin: Sid Harth. November 15, 2004.
Sep 4, 2011 – Jun 19, 2011 – mysistereileencom-wwwnprorg-mysistereileen-oops-sarahpalin-sid- … @mysistereileen.com @www.npr.org #mysistereileen, …
Apr 12, 2012 – May Allah be praised,(PBUH). Hi, NPR! …and I am Sid Harth@mysistereileen.com. April 12, 2012. NPR Shop | NPR Social Media | Welcome, …
Jan 7, 2012 – Jun 19, 2011 – 7 hours ago – @mysistereileen.com @www.npr.org #mysistereileen, Oops, SarahPalin: Sid Harth. November 15, 2004.
Jun 21, 2011 – @mysistereileen.com @bloomberg.com @wsj.com #RussiaHoldings # … Cogito Ergo Sum: @mysistereileen @www.npr.org #mysistereileen …
mysistereileen.com/. 7 hours ago – Everything you always wanted to know about my sister Eileen … ….. author interviews, & book readings, all at NPR Books …
Apr 16, 2012 – Take five. …and I am Sid Harth@mysistereileen.com. April 17, 2012. NPR Shop | NPR Social Media | Welcome, Sid Harth (navanavonmilita) …
The Death Of Facts In An Age Of ‘Truthiness’
by NPR Staff
According to columnist Rex Huppke, there was a recent death that you might have missed. It wasn’t an actor, musician or famous politician, but facts.
In a piece for the Chicago Tribune, Huppke says facts – things we know to be true – are now dead.
Huppke says the final blow came on Wednesday, April 18, when Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida declared that about 80 members of the Democratic Party in Congress are members of the Communist Party.
“That was the death-blow for facts,” Huppke tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.
One call to the Communist Party USA confirmed that this was, in fact, not true. According to them, no one in the U.S. House of Representatives is a member of the Communist Party. Days later, Allen West stood by his comments.
So that led Huppke to the idea that if someone of any political party can say something so patently untrue and stand by it — which seems to happen more and more often, he says — then facts must be meaningless and dead.
“[Facts are] survived by rumor and innuendo, two brothers, and then a sister, emphatic assertion,” he says. “They’re all grieving right now, but we wish the best for them.”
There’s another sibling that may be too busy thriving to grieve. Comedian Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness” as the notion that truth doesn’t lie in books and facts but rather, in your gut. If Huppke is right and facts are indeed dead, perhaps Colbert’s satire is our reality. Where does that leave those of us seeking the truth?
If Facts Are Dead, How About Fact-Checking?
Bill Adair is the editor of PolitiFact, a website run by a team of seasoned journalists that checks facts made by members of Congress, the White House and interest groups. Despite Huppke’s obituary, he tells NPR’s Raz that the market for fact-checking remains strong.
“Whether the fact has actually died or is just on its death bed, I think it means it’s a great time to be in the fact-checking business,” Adair says, “because there are just so many questions about what’s accurate and what’s not.”
Whether the fact has actually died or is just on its death bed, I think it means it’s a great time to be in the fact-checking business.
- Bill Adair, Politico
PolitiFact’s fact-checking process is long and arduous. The team spends a lot of time researching whether a fact is true, half-true or not at all true, then posts their findings to the site. When it’s over, however, the team at PolitiFact — and even some Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists — can’t always convince people what is true.
Adair often gets emails accusing them of being biased, but he says he’s not sure who they’re supposed to be biased in favor of because they get criticized a lot by both sides.
“I think that’s just the nature of a very rough-and-tumble political discourse,” he says. “We are in a time when there’s more political discourse than ever … and when you hear somebody say your team is wrong, almost like a referee, you’re going to argue with the ref. You’re going to say the ref is biased.”
The ‘Backfire Effect’
Increasingly, people don’t just say the referee is biased, they say the referee is outright lying.
Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan, and a colleague of his, Jason Reifler, conducted an experiment where they had people read a mock new article about President George W. Bush.
The article quoted Bush as saying his tax cuts increased government revenue, which is false. Some of the participants were then given a second article that had a correction: it said the Bush tax cuts actually led to a decline in tax revenue, which is true.
Those who opposed President Bush were more prone to believing the second article, while those who supported Bush, even after reading the second corrected article, were more likely to believe the first.
Nyhan calls this phenomenon the “backfire effect,” and it affects people of all political stripes.
“In journalism, in health [and] in education we tend to take the attitude that more information is better, and so there’s been an assumption that if we put the correct information out there, the facts will prevail,” Nyhan says. “Unfortunately, that’s not always true.”
In some cases, giving people corrective information about a misconception can make the problem worse, Nyhan says. That’s the “backfire effect,” and it can make them believe in the misconception even more strongly.
While there have been times of less polarization among political elites, Nyhan says there has never been a golden age of factual agreement. People have always believed incorrect things, but what has changed is the way our society is structured.
“That trend toward polarization has exacerbated this divergence in factual perceptions, to the point that it seems like we’ve lost something,” he says.
It’s simply too hard to walk back misconceptions once they’re out in the wild, Nyhan says, whether put there by political elites or another source. If there was a greater reputational price to pay for putting falsehoods out there, he says, perhaps there would be fewer of them in the first place.
“That, to me, is a difficult problem, but certainly an easier one than trying to change human nature,” he says, “which is what you’re talking about when you try to talk about convincing people. It’s just too difficult most of the time.”
- Music Lists
- Music Interviews
- Music News
- Music Blogs
- Jazz & Blues
- Browse Artists A-Z
- Copyright 2012 NPR
- Text-Only Site
- Contact Us
- Our partner in public broadcasting
To Predict Dating Success, The Secret’s In The Pronouns
|May 6, 2012||Please donate to your NPR Station|
Shots – Health Blog
A psychologist says he can predict whether two people will end up on a date by analyzing their language style and use of certain words. His research on language can also help explain power dynamics between people.
Enron, Worldcom, Bernie Madoff — the past decade has brought us a long parade of headlines involving unethical behavior. And that’s led researchers to a disturbing conclusion: The vast majority of us are not only capable of behaving in profoundly unethical ways, but without realizing it, we do it all the time. Exhibit A: the story of Toby Groves.
|Support comes from: Become an NPR sponsor|
More Most E-mailed
|More at NPR.org|
Get the Most E-mailed Stories Podcast from NPR
Or, get automatic updates via RSS with NPR News Feeds
This message was sent to email@example.com
To stop ALL email from NPR Newsletters, click here to remove yourself from our lists.
This email was sent by: NPR, 635 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20001-3753
© 2010 NPR
…and I am Sid Harth@mysistereileen.com
You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.