Thursday, April 23, 2015

Does Political Persuasion Automatically Cloud The Truth?

I was in the car with the radio on a little while ago and heard conservative talk show host Mark Davis (660AM, WBAP, Dallas/Fort Worth) ask a question that I found interesting. The question was something like "If a person writes a book (or an article for the purposes of this post) that is critical of another person, such as the new book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer, is the information in the book automatically untrue because the author is of the opposite political persuasion?

Let's break it down to generalities.

If a conservative writes a book or an article that is critical of a liberal, particularly a liberal political candidate, is the information in said book or article automatically untrue because the author is a conservative?

In like manner - if a liberal writes a book or an article that is critical of a conservative is the information in said book or article automatically untrue because the author is a liberal?

The conservative in me says "Liberals are incapable of telling the truth so the answer to the second question is a resounding "YES!" But logic and common sense tells me that thought would be wrong. I have liberal friends whom, although I disagree with their political views, are honest and trustworthy when it comes to personal integrity. And spare me the "Liberals have no integrity" speech because it's simply untrue. Integrity is defined by one's words and actions, not their political beliefs.

For those on the political right who believe all liberals are the same and none of them have any integrity I would remind you that some people judge all Christians by the ones who get the most attention, such as the Westboro Baptist Church and Al Sharpton. Both profess to be Christians and doing God's work but if you are a Christian would you want to be judged by their actions? I wouldn't think so.

The New York Times, hardly a conservative media outlet, seems to be putting a bit of stock in what Schweizer has said about the Clintons. They have published at least two articles about the book and have yet to denounce it as being untrue simply because Schweizer is a conservative. And interestingly, Schweizer is working on a new book now about the finances of Jeb Bush, a prominent Presidential candidate on the Republican side. That's hardly the work of a conservative subversive - unless you agree with me that Bush is far from a conservative. In that case perhaps it is subversive.

Anyway - back to the original question. Does political affiliation automatically mean something isn't true if its written by the other side? I think there are many who would say yes without investigating the information and its source(s). And that's part of the problem with America today. Too many people read a headline and see who wrote the article and decide it's untrue based simply on the author or publisher.

I will admit to being skeptical of an article if it's written by a liberal or published by a liberal site. But hey - the New York Times is getting my attention because they're posting information uncovered by a conservative without automatically denouncing it. And I give them credit for that.

What are your thoughts? Do you investigate something yourself before passing judgement on it or dismiss it as false based on who wrote it. And if your answer is the latter - is it OK for the other side to do the same?

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