2016 Fact Storm: How Bad Was It?
I missed the KRNA office holiday party on Thursday evening. Instead of having a bit of festive fun nibbling appetizers and sipping cocktails with my co-workers, I drove back to Madison, WI to get ahead of a Winter Storm Warning that was expected to dump a heap of snow on us.
My wife had informed me the snowblower needed repair, and with sub-zero wind chills arriving after the storm, I had no time to waste. Everyone was saying this was going to be the Worst.Storm. Ever.
It wasn't the "worst ever". As storms go, it was brutal, it was cold. But it wasn't the worst.
And here's the rub: without the embellishment of the facts to arouse our interest in this story, is it possible we would have simply ignored it? The sad truth is "yes". That is why we embellish. Everyone in the media does it. Everyone. Including you. That's right, if you have ever tweeted, posted, published or shared anything on social media, then you are are part of "the media". We are ALL members of "the media".
Embellishment. Exaggeration. Bald-Faced BS'ing. Outright Lying. Insisting something is or isn't true simple because we say so.
It's all hype, people. Selective truth. And we've become addicted to it.
From rigged political elections to winter weather forecasts, it's all a big pile of steamin' stinkin' hype. Even the reporting of the misrepresentation of facts is biased.
And it's all about the money. Because, hype sells. If people would stop eating it up, it would cease to exist. But none of us really wants to go on that diet. Who really wants to do all that hard work of actually investigating all the facts? That would be difficult, like seeking out the truth. It's so much easier to believe when it's presented to us in a concise story with an alluring headline, colorful text, and a shocking photo.
The more we embellish, the more we buy into the danger of destroying the basic human need to search for truth. By overstating the facts or presenting them in a way to make them more favorable to our liking, we cheapen the reality of truth, and dismiss a very treasured but often misunderstood freedom of our nations' constitution.
The photo above is a picture of me digging out of a Wisconsin snowstorm. The photo was taken in 2009. You probably assumed it was a shot of me digging out from this weekend. It was not. It was a brutal storm but it wasn't the Worst. Storm. Ever.
In 2017 it will be more important than ever for us to resolve ourselves to seeking all the facts. Then, and only then, will we be fortunate enough to know the real truth of any given situation.
Without it, we'll be up to our knees in the opposite.