Veracity

Posted on April 23, 2012. Filed under: Humor, Journalism, language, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Olfactory, optical, auditory, tactile…   (Awright!  Smell, sight, hearing, touch!  Happy now?)…   all are senses used to communicate information.  All organisms — fungi, plants, microbes, animals — use one or more of these tools to send and receive information vital to its species’ survival.  Every transmittal is a signal to another that it should respond in kind, do nothing, or initiate an  appropriate complementary action.  All of these signals and responses are, in essence, words, sentences, and paragraphs in that great big story called LIFE.  Consider these basic abilities as hardware essential to each living entity. 

And the CPU?  Easy enough to describe in anything with a recognizable nervous system, but, in anything below that, speculation becomes the sport of the day.  In my mind, since everything we call living must follow the “acquire or avoid” protocol, then everything must have some kind of information processor to determine the appropriate course to follow.  The extent to which this is applied to any one organism is up to the biases of individual observers.

Application of the garnered information may be information specific (a given input always resulting in the same output or action) or situation specific (a given input is weighed against several possible actions, each with a different outcome, before one is decided on).  In essence, through memory and manipulation of available and remembered data, the entity is considering “What if?”

With apparently little in the way of reasoning abilities, plants have been lying to insects for…   well…   a very long time.  Pitcher plants scream out to little bugs, “Hey, I’m just a nice piece of delicious carrion,” and the little bugs jump right into the plants’ stomachs, and we all know how that ends.  Male bees, eager to jump the bones exoskeletons of very receptive female bees, excitedly land on the petals of devious, cross-dressing plants, and, instead of contributing to their own species’ future, wind up artificially inseminating the plants relatives.  Insects, fish, snapping turtles and a host of others practice this prevarication.  A little misinformation can go a  long way toward furthering the liar’s goal.

All life-forms predate humanity, and, story telling is integral to that history.  Deception, based on understanding another’s probable response to received information, rivals it for longevity.  It should be no surprise that humans also are capable of taking an elemental trait and retooling it for self-benefit. 

Knowing our own innate predilection for manipulating data for personal gain, it is easy to attribute such behavior to others of our kind.  Thus, it becomes essential that we get pretty good at ferreting out deceptive intents.

Veracity of content is an elusive shape-shifting phantom, being defined only by the view points of both the story teller and the reader (recipient).  If news is being reported, it can be related straight up as a blow-by-blow account, or, a colorized version can be presented in several ways, such as the use of words that impart opinions, like:   Mr. Wilson questioned the Mayor, who responded with “Absolutely!” vs. Mr. Wilson impatiently questioned the Mayor, whose reply, “Absolutely!”  belied his 4-year track record in office.  A little extra here, some more over there, and, before you know it, a news item becomes a political commentary.   What more can you expect?  Brian the Anchor’s motto echoes through the industry:   “We have to interpret it for the stupid masses (that be us, their audiences) so they can understand it the way we want.”  (Brian didn’t actually say that directly.  I just processed what he did say through my own personal antipathy toward his ilk — and the track record of that ilk.)  And, I really hope that I am talking to people who didn’t believe that tabloid account — with photograph — of the ET presenting a bouquet of flowers to President Clinton.

Next up:  “Freedom of” does not mean “responsibility to…”

 

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One Response to “Veracity”

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[…] holding back on something vital to our survival.  I have covered this before in journalistic veracity.  The Big P is looking to sell advertising,* whether it is printed, broadcast, or internetted.**  […]


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