My New Year’s Resolution is simple. I’m not going to take on too much; so, I can make the resolution doable and thus a keepable goal. Citing sources, the resolution, is as easy as documenting who originally said or wrote the idea.
Citing sources is a basic tenant of documenting facts or in other words, truth telling or reasoning out a position on an issue. This notion is juxtaposed to the social media “rumor mill” and the outrageous president groaning and concocting fake news stories in the White House.
How does anyone know that an idea is a fact or a fake? What Donald Trump claims is fake news or fake news agency is in itself f-a-k-e assertions. He is the liar like Hitler, Hussein, or any other dictator relying on lies. An article in the July 25, 2016 New York Times by Jane Mayer pointed out that Trump’s first wife said he slept near a “copy of Adolf Hitler’s collected speeches, “My New Order,” in a cabinet beside his bed,” but that later Trump remembered the book as “Mein Kampf.” In Mayer’s article, the ghostwriter of “The Art of the Big Deal” Tony Schwartz regrets building the business man up and says he would now title the book, “The Sociopath.”
In a May 21, 2018 Washington Post perspective written by Zachary Jonathan Jacobson, Ph.D explains, “Dating to Nazi Germany, the Big Lie was a strategy of propaganda that focused on the mass dissemination of a single or a few chief falsehoods to a target population…. Swallow the big pill, and the rest would follow.” He continues in the article that Hitler and Goebbels sold the notion as originally Jewish when Hitler actually instigated it. Jacobson quotes Goebbels, “All effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands.”
Jacobson concludes that the Big Lie is not the problem, but that the multiplicity of little lies is a bigger behemoth. As I see it, the small lies set up a fake news bombardment in repeated automatic rounds to befuddle, disillusion, confuse and cripple the public. These million little lies destroy logical thought and makes finding the facts more like a scavenger hunt than a thoughtful discerning of facts.
On November 2, 2018, three Washington Post journalists fact checked Trump and found: “In the first nine months of his presidency, Trump made 1,318 false or misleading claims, an average of five a day. But in the seven weeks leading up the midterm elections, the president made 1,419 false or misleading claims — an average of 30 a day.
“Combined with the rest of his presidency, that adds up to a total of 6,420 claims through Oct. 30, the 649th day of his term in office, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president.”
As a Christian, I’ve understood James 3:17 to insist we analyze and find the truth. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” If we don’t take the admonishment into our daily lives, we jeopardize our understanding and knowledge base.
Likewise, reporters generally double check sources and stories. I know this tenant as a former news writer. It’s the basic rule of Journalism 101. Our rights of free speech are threatened as this president’s administration continues to rapid fire lies and fake news.
I hope the reader will join me to resolve to spread the facts and not the lies this year; and so consequently work to strengthen our Free Speech rights. Without truth, we have no speech—only propaganda. In other words, I resolve to name the sources so the FAKE can be unloaded, and the actual news loaded.
—Nelda Curtiss is a retired college professor who enjoys writing and fine arts. Contact her at [email protected]