Clouding Our Capacity for Discernment

by Dr. David Gruder

In yet another example of how leaders, political pundits and many others are helping to crush the public’s capacity to discern fact from spin, President Bush role-modeled this very problem during his speech last night. For the facts, click here:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20766644

If this practice were a one-time aberration, or if only a few people did it, well… there are always a few rotten apples. But, it is being role-modeled every day in every way by far too many political, business and even some religious leaders, by lobbyists, by media pundits and talk radio hosts, and by everyday people across the political and ideological spectrum. After all, if so many leaders do it, it must be okay, right?

The truth is that is practice of making it impossible to distinguish supposed facts from actual spin clouds everyone’s capacity for discernment. This widespread practice renders even the most well-meaning people unable to make informed decisions despite their best intentions. This example of widespread lack of integrity undermines the very foundation of democracy and free society.

It is time for people across the political, ideological and advocacy spectrum to start insisting to the leaders, advocates and commentators that they support cease this practice once and for all. We need to focus less on attacking the “other side” for doing this and focus more on using our power where it can be felt, through insisting that “our side” stop doing this.

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