“Truth and ‘News’”
“See, they conducted experiments on convicts. I don't know on what grounds they reason a man in jail is a bigger liar than one out of jail. The chances are telling the truth is what got him there. It would be a big aid to humanity, but it will never be, for already the politicians are up in arms against it. It would wreck the very foundation on which our political government is run. If you ever injected truth into politics you'd have no politics. Even the ministers are denouncing it now. Humanity is not yet ready for either real truth or real harmony.”
- Will Rogers,
Weekly Article # 31 (15 July 1923), after meeting Robert E. House, who had proposed the use of scopolamine as a truth serum, in The Use of Scopolamine in Criminology (1922).
“About ‘Fake News’”
by Alex Noble
“When we realize that so much of the MSM (Main Stream Media) alleged ‘news’ is badly reported, blatant misinformation, or strategic disinformation, it certainly opens the door for satire of the news, and if readers/viewers cannot tell the difference between satire and ‘real’ news, they have only themselves to blame. I have often said that if one just listed the current headlines from around the world all in one place, it would be laughable in and of itself. I remember hearing about how Will Rogers would do performances just reading the news stories of the day. In other words, his brand of satire was just to present reality in all its naked ridiculousness. We are currently plagued by so many phony, corrupt, comedic characters that perhaps the only way to make some statement to help expose them is through humor and satire. Andy Borowitz is a master of this, along with PJ O’Rourke and others. Matt Taibbi is funny just in the way he tells the truth. Anyone who puts himself/herself out into the public media must realize that they are fair game for humorists. I mean, who could invent Bernie Madoff and his sorry saga of bilking billions from his friends and country club members?
In terms of “shifting perception,” humor is one of the last strategies we have against the barbarian hordes that are storming the gates of our culture and civilization as we have known it. The internet has created a “flat earth” environment where everything is equal to everything else, and so, reader/viewer beware. Maybe our humorists will actually succeed in waking people up to the phenomenal abuses of power going on today, and the rampant corruption in all professions: law, medicine, finance. I am a member of the School of Free Speech, and still have faith in the Jeffersonian principles of a free press and no government suppression of expression. If democracy is to be saved in our lifetimes, it just may depend on the humorists among us to help us laugh into sanity, and thus become more responsible voters and citizens. Jefferson summed it up: "Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe."