Humphrey School lecture: Attacks on facts endanger governance

  • Article by: JOHN RASH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 3, 2013 - 6:49 PM

John Rash on Kathleen Hall Jamieson's Humphrey School lecture and the value of ‘custodians of the knowable.’

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jarlmnMay. 3, 13 8:07 PM

Oh, please. What balderdash! Seems the Leftists want to posture that they and their neo Ministry Of Truth are the right and honorable "custodians of the knowable" and all the conservatives do is just pull stuff outta their hats fer giggles. Ok, Mr. Rash, as long as you brought up the "assault" weapon issue, let's look at the TRUTH that you and your ilk blithely ignore in your firearms-phobic lust for feel-good, do-nothing weapons bans. By the FBI's very own statistics, rifles, "assault" weapons being just a small part of those overall rifle stats, account for a statistically insignificant percentage of gun crime! You and your ilk wail and moan about *nothing,* and expect emotion to override reality! I could go on and on. Nice try. But Rash, Jamieson and their ilk can't handle the truth!

marsbonfireMay. 3, 13 8:25 PM

Repubs have completely thrown in the towel on reality. One of my favorite hobbies is listening to the Patriot and hearing the off the hook histrionics of people like Mike Gallagher and Mark Levin...but even funnier is waiting for the inevitable calls from their equally clueless followers. I've never heard so much blatant, misinformation in my life.

stpauloldiesMay. 3, 13 8:40 PM

This article is laughable. Mr. Rash is actually trying to portray journalists as even-handed objective people who weren't dishonest and deceptive with the daily attacks on Mit Romney for over 4 months leading up to obama's re-election, which a deceptive and dishonest media was very instrumental in achieving for him. I have yet to find one article by any liberal daily that fact-checked the liberal accusation that republicans want dirty air, dirty water, granny thrown over the cliff, and children with autism and down's syndrome left to die. On top of that, didn't you think censoring and blocking over 90% of conservative criticisms about obama's job performance for at least 3 months before the election on the STrib's comment boards was going to be noticed??? When the journalists at this newspaper other than Katherine Kersten get any integrity and honesty, then get back to me. Openly campaigning for a liberal presidential candidate has nothing to do with fact-check, but it has everything to do with having no integrity in fairly reporting the news.

hermajestyMay. 3, 13 9:15 PM

Although there are some left-wing fantasists, the right-wing media (especially Fox News and AM radio) have been spewing a steady diet of lies and appeals to their audience's prejudices for 20 years. Not only that; they keep telling their audiences that they're the ONLY source of truth and that everyone else is "biased."

Propagandists know that no matter how absurd a lie is, the majority will believe it if you repeat it often enough, AND they will resist the truth, because then they will have to admit they were snookered. It's easier on the ego to keep believing nonsense such as "reactionary socialist" (a contradiction in terms--"reactionary" is the opposite of "radical") than to stop and think, "Wait, that doesn't make sense."

The tirades on AM radio appeal to their listeners' anger, and there are indeed a lot of things to be angry about, but the job of the talk radio personalities is to steer their listeners AWAY from the real culprits and make them blame other powerless people who are much like themselves.

martytoilMay. 3, 13 9:23 PM

stpauloldies--If you can not recognize the facts perhaps you are a casualty of the political rhetoric that is being discussed in the article. Then when you make up your own facts to support your misinformation, you compound the problem.

LennyofMNMay. 3, 13 9:25 PM

There's no question that what is said is true. However, the examples provided seem to imply that this sort of thing only occurs on one side of the aisle. A few minutes at or Politifact will show that there is a loose grip on facts on both sides. (If common sense alone isn't enough to make that determination.) And that facts are challenged by both. Which any custodian of the knowable would surely acknowledge.

DufferHMay. 3, 13 9:38 PM

All this does is confirm what many of us see in the left and its accommodating and affirming media. "We have the facts, and no matter how correct you are, we will determine what are the real facts." Spare us further balderdash from this arrogant pundit. The STrib editorial board should really be embarrassed.

dazel21May. 3, 1310:13 PM

I think the media has a way of not reporting the truth if they think it will damage there cause, its not lying but not informing,its one thing to lie ,but if you don't put both sides of the issue out there thats almost as the Seattle riots this May day we all know they were occupiers commies and liberals and not the Tea Party but not a word from the left media .No wonder O'Riley rebroadcast at 4 in the morning has higher ratings than the prime time news on the rest of the cable news shows.Fair and balanced.

twspt7May. 3, 1310:24 PM

Jon Tevlin wrote a column in the Strib a while back about meeting with a gentleman whose politics differed considerably from his. He said the meeting was cordial, but he came away with the impression that this man and Tevlin had entirely different sets of facts. This, I think, is what Rash writes about in this commentary. The "team" nature of American contemporary politics has produced a "team" outlook on the world. The "blue team" has their particular version of reality as does the "red team." And this dichotomy is enabled, indeed promoted, by the MSM; for example, you have Fox News and the Wall Street Journal on one side and MSNBC and CNN on the other. I would suggest that the truth lies somewhere in the overlap between the two, for the most part, but honestly, it is becoming harder and harder to tell fact from propaganda. We live in an Age of Disinformation where partisan rhetoric uses knowledge as a weapon to attack one's sociopolitical adversaries, twisting facts to suit agenda. With the media buying into one side or the other, the loser in this scenario is the general public.

hobie2May. 3, 1311:17 PM

So if the journalists want to bring forth facts, then stop censoring comments that are not vulgar or personal attacks, and let discourse occur... Why, sir, do you think the people do not believe journalists? People believe people who are reasoned, fair, and present and address all facets. They listen for a while to people who are blithering idiots, just as they run to watch the free circus... And they trust people in clown suits making fools of themselves for a buck, a lot more than they trust people who pretend to support discourse and who try to arrange that discourse to their own views... People far prefer honest idiots to manipulating hypocrites.


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