A war on the media has been declared over a he-said, he-said over whose is bigger. A debate as old as mankind and measuring sticks.
The real question is, does size matter? Apparently so. But let’s take a step back and ask the important question of why. Photos showing a side by side comparison of the crowd from Obama’s first inauguration to that of Trump’s taken from the same vantage point “shortly before noon” were widely circulated online and in social media, with an article declaring that Trump drew a far smaller crowd than Obama.
Premium fodder for the anti-Trump establishment waxing enthusiastic about the size of Donald’s crowd (among other things), and the first official press briefing turned witch hunt, accusing the media of deliberately false reporting with Sean Spicer providing his own “alternative facts” as explained by Kellyanne Conway.
Whip out your measuring sticks folks. If the last few days are any indication, this war is anything but over. History is happening real-time, chewed up and spit out over the Internet and social media in bits and pieces. Despite all of our technological advances, one thing has remained steadfast through history, we’re doomed to repeat it unless we learn from it.
I’ve roamed the Internet trying to connect with something to explain how we arrived here and it brought me to Jonathan Swift’s The Art of Political Lying. Published over 300 years ago and yet line after line reads like today’s news. Swift writes, “besides, as the vilest writer hath his readers, so the greatest liar hath his believers, and it often happens that if a lie be believed only for an hour, it hath done its work, and there is no further occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect”.
So what are we to do? Will the truth ultimately prevail? I don’t know that the answer will be any different now than it was in 1710 unless we put down our measuring sticks and work to educate ourselves and each other, hold those in power accountable and reject anything that cannot be substantiated. Until then, the only truth is what choose to believe.