Assertion Replaces Truth

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jun 13, 2006 11:42 AM

Lorie Byrd describes the fight ahead in her Examiner column today:

When assertion replaces truth, language no longer has definite meaning assigned to it, and civility becomes a thing of nostalgia, the table is set for a dysfunctional debate that not only fails to educate the public, but misleads and misinforms them continually. Just as those in the new media forced those at CBS to confront the truth of their fake documents, those interested in preserving truth in our political debate have many battles to fight in the days to come.

In reading her column, I was reminded of John Stossel's new book, "Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel-- Why Everything You Know is Wrong."

It promises to be a book with nearly as many insights as it has subtitles.

Stossel wrote about how media assertions become fact through hype in his column this week:

While I've been a reporter, I've been asked to do alarmist reports about hair dye, dry cleaning, coffee, chewing gum, saccharin, cyclamates, NutraSweet, nitrites, Red No. 2 dye, electric blankets, video display terminals, dental fillings, cellular phones, vaccines, potato chips, farmed salmon, Teflon, antiperspirants and even rubber duckies.

I refused to do most of those stories. If one-tenth of what the reporters suggested was happening did happen, there would be mass death. The opposite is true: Despite exposure to radiation and all those nasty new chemicals, Americans today live longer than ever.

Walter Williams tackles such myths this week, too:


Outsourcing destroys good jobs, and the new jobs created are inferior hamburger-flipping jobs. This myth is created by the likes of CNN's Lou Dobbs, who said, "This country has lost the ability to feed and to clothe itself, to build its own automobiles, to provide its appliances, its electronics, its computers." CNN correspondent Lisa Sylvester chimes, "The United States has been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs."

First, since 1992 there's been a loss of 391 million jobs; however, during those years, America created 411 million new jobs, for a net gain of 20 million. A Dartmouth University Tuck School of Business study found that companies that send jobs abroad ended up hiring twice as many workers at home. Most new jobs created are higher-paid.

Just thought I'd do my part in putting some truth in place of all this assertion.