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How Much Truth Can You Handle? - Uncovering Truth in an Uncertain World

Noel Ocol

May 4, 2018
That was the theme of the 2018 Association of Roman Catholic Communication of Canada (ARCC) conference this year that was held in Hamilton Ontario this week.
I was honored to be invited to join a discussion panel that featured some high profile industry experts and TV personalities to discuss specifically the importance of rigorous journalism.
As part of the opening, each panelist has an opportunity to provide a few thoughts on the conference's theme. Here's how I addressed the crowd.
How Much Truth Can You Handle? - Uncovering Truth in an Uncertain World
As I was preparing for this panel, I thought long and hard about the theme of today’s discussion: How Much Truth Can you Handle. After a half a bottle of wine and two shots of tequila with nothing to show for it except the buzzing in my head, it only then dawned on me, that the answer to that question really depends, on how you define "Truth".
Let me explain. If truth is defined in a strict sense as something that is provable, objective, not opinion, verified not to be false in any objective way, based on logic, reason, and/or empirical evidence, then the answer to the question, of “How Much Truth Can You Handle”, for us in the Communications and journalism business, can and must only be, "All of it, as much as I can get..."
And why? Simply because, I believe that objective truth in news reporting is becoming rare, and harder to find. Its diluted by the massive tsunami of editorialized opinions on social media that floods my news feeds.
If a journalist is given and uses, (consciously or unconsciously), counterfeit information that is passed off as truth, in the form of: factoids, half truths, incomplete statistics, verifiable theories, or all the above, then you end up with.. Fake news.
Pope Francis so bluntly pointed out during his Message for World Communications Day on January 24th, “we are witnessing the pandemic spread of what has come to be known as “fake news.”
So how much of THAT kind of “Truth”, can I handle? well, none of it. Sadly however, because of the pandemic spread of fake news and manicured truths, that surrounds use like the air we breath, I have to admit, that I’m become desensitized to it.
Now, I find myself often wondering, that's the political agenda, what’s driving that angle, whose funding that source, what facts were left out? and what the other side of the story...
Hence the obvious need for Rigorous Journalism, a topic which I’ll leave to the panel discussion today.
Photcredit: Pam Aleman