Fact is Dead?

Driving home from the store, a story came on about how Facts have died.  So I googled it.  Rex Huppke, a Chicago Tribune reporter wrote the story,

Leading with a headline:

Facts, 360 B.C.-A.D. 2012

In memoriam: After years of health problems, Facts has finally died.

April 19, 2012  By Rex W. Huppke, Chicago Tribune reporter
He wrote:
“To the shock of most sentient beings, Facts died Wednesday, April 18, after a long battle for relevancy with the 24-hour news cycle, blogs and the Internet. Though few expected Facts to pull out of its years-long downward spiral, the official cause of death was from injuries suffered last week when Florida Republican Rep. Allen West steadfastly declared that as many as 81 of his fellow members of the U.S. House of Representatives are communists….

Facts is survived by two brothers, Rumor and Innuendo, and a sister, Emphatic Assertion.  Services are alleged to be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that mourners make a donation to their favorite super PAC.”

Article can be found at: Facts is Dead

While a humorous presentation, it does raise the issue of how do we know what is true.  And once you are in the world of resesarch and statistics, it can get more challenging, especially whne politics is added into the mix.

NPR contacted the US Communist Party, who said that not only are no members of the Congress members.

Of course, we have been down this road before, with Senator Joe McCarthy making unsubstantiated claims about people. It took awhile before his fellow members in Congress finally removed him from the stage.  One of my favorite quotes by Senator Margaret Chase Smith is:  ” Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.”  She stood up in Congress to speak against fellow Republican Joe McCarthy on June 1, 1950, when she delivered a fifteen-minute speech on the Senate floor, known as the Declaration of Conscience.  While she did not name McCarthy directly, she  denounced “the reckless abandon in which unproved charges have been hurled from this side of the aisle…. “the level of a forum of hate and character assassination.”  She defended every American’s “right to criticize…right to hold unpopular beliefs…right to protest; the right of independent thought.”  While acknowledging her desire for Republicans’ political success, she said, “I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horseman of calumny — fear, ignorance, bigotry, and smear.”

The  NPR story can be found at:   NPR 
Then there is Stephen Colbert’s “Truthiness” : Colbert Nation

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