Letter: On honesty and accountability
If your child lied to you, would you punish him/her? Then why do you accept lies, even repeat them, when they are told by your representatives or news personalities?
This is not a partisan thing. Our leaders and those tasked with keeping us informed misrepresent facts and intentionally lie to us in an effort to sway opinion or enact legislation daily. And why do they do this? Because they can.
Federal law protects serving members from libel or slander or as Mitch McConnell (could have been anyone) said when called out for his intentional libel of another member on the Senate floor—"Not in this room." The cameras were on for the statement, not the rebuke, so the lie is perpetuated. Mr. McConnell is the illustration—it could be anyone, any day, because we allow our leaders to lie without repercussion. Talk shows, news programs, even blogs of either stripe (there is no balance) daily spout percentages without data, infer the other guy is less than honest, or even a great conspiracy is being perpetrated without proof. And when on the rare occasion someone is called out, opinion is spouted or, as one guy with a gold mike once said, "Hey, I’m just an entertainer." Yeah, so was Tokyo Rose.
We must hold our leaders and those who inform us to at least the same standard as we do ourselves. When our leaders lie, we must be able to make them answer in a court of law, voting them out is not enough and not very efficient. The media, no matter what form, should report the facts, and if they wish to comment, they should be required to state before—not when challenged, that the following is opinion and may or may not be factual or correct. This is assumed in letters to the editor or editorials—they are someone’s opinion, nothing more—on the front page of a paper or in the halls of our leaders, you expect truth. Change the laws; accept nothing less.