I think it was Winston Churchill who said, "The lie gets halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on." That's a pretty marvelous observation, and remember, he lived before we entered the information age such as we now know it. He would have been appalled at the vulnerability of the real state of things (one definition of truth) at the hands of contemporary consciousness and technology. The thing that has made today's environment so challenging for high profile people (and presidents) is the velocity with which the lie can travel, the sheer volume of data on the run, the changes in the awareness of the average person, and finally, the cynicism and competition associated with news dissemination and consumption.

Take all the ways we now have of accessing news: add spin-doctoring, the press, the pollsters, a litigious atmosphere, and an almost instantaneous broadcasting of events, and it's small wonder that to grab the competitive edge, you've got to be first. The media-bird that gets the worm these days has to have reflexes and resources sharper than his or her press badge to file the story first. If that is the case, the scramble for the scoop will inevitably relax the scruples that guarantee legitimacy of sources. Cultural shifting has altered expectations and the tempo and assumptive base of the times. The environment is characterized by shortened news cycles, story shelf life, and short attention spans. People begin to take other than the old givens for granted. That is essentially what makes one era different from another. And that is the way it is.

"But the truth will prevail . . ."

Even if it does get its pants on, there aren't too many people really looking for it, at least among those who are supposed to be digging for it.

Perhaps then, in time, it will prevail . . .

Ahh yes, in time, in the fullness of time, the impeccably dressed truth will reveal itself . . . and we won't recognize it.


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