A Tribute to Gary Loftis

by Dr. David Gruder

A few blog entries back I wrote about three of the dimensions that separate spin from true education. The article I used to illustrate those three dimensions was written by Gary Loftis and appears on the American Chronicle website.

Relevant Links

My blog entry

Gary’s revised article (the original article is no longer available)

I sent Gary a link to my blog post. This initiated a dialogue between us.

The first thing that happened as a result of our dialogue is that I modified my post because some of the things Gary wrote to me made it clear that I had not communicated some of my points clearly enough.

The last thing that occurred was that Gary modified his article in light of my feedback. He begins his revised article (www.americanchronicle.com/articles/73191) with the following note:

I previously published most of this essay, but was taken to task over my use of language by Dr. David Gruder, an integrity guru. Like any good writer, I welcome criticism and use it to hone my word skills. Thanks, David! The following analysis reflects my opinions…

I applaud Gary for demonstrating his dedication to upgrading his journalistic integrity skills. I want to be clear what I mean by this. Notice that I wrote "integrity skills." Skills are different from intentions! I don’t judge Gary to be lacking in integrity. On the contrary, his responses to me revealed him to be a man who deeply values integrity. What I mean is that even those of us who truly value integrity act in certain out-of-integrity ways. I believe that Gary’s dedication to integrity is what motivated him to upgrade his writing skills to more fully reflect the principles of journalistic integrity I wrote about in my post.

Let me repeat this: Integrity is not simply an abstract word or intention that people agree is important. Integrity is also a specific set of actions or skills.

This is why I wrote The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World, and its companion, The New IQ Integrity Makeover Workbook. If we are serious about restoring integrity to all levels of our society, demanding more integrity will never be enough. We must upgrade the skills this book illuminates and we must expect others to do the same, especially our leaders and other influencers in business, religion, education, the media and government.

By way of analogy, even the most loving of people are capable of what I call "loving mistakes:" actions that do not feel like love to the receiver despite a loving intention on the part of the giver. The key indicator that distinguishes loving mistakes from unloving mistakes is teachability. When someone with a truly loving intention learns they have made a "loving mistake," they seek to upgrade their actions to more accurately or effectively reflect the love in their heart.

Similarly, valuing integrity is not the same as integrious behavior. People who lack integrity often talk about the importance of integrity but they tend to not modify their behavior to more accurately or effectively express integrity. Sometimes this is because they are really lying about valuing integrity. But, this happens even more frequently because they lack the skills required for behaving in ways that more fully reflect the integrity they say they value.

As a writer, Gary demonstrated how deeply and authentically he values integrity by upgrading his journalistic integrity skills so that he can write articles that more fully reflects his dedication to integrity. Take my word for it — the current version of Gary’s article shows a significant upgrade in his journalistic integrity skills compared with the original version that you can no longer read.

Gary’s willingness to make these upgrades made him my hero today. May other journalists and article writers show the same courage Gary has shown by upgrading the jounalistic integrity skills they use in writing news stories, analyses or opinion pieces.

PS. When I sent Gary my first e-mail about this, I also e-mailed American Chronicle’s editor to register my concerns. I am sad to say that I have not yet heard back from them. In light of Gary’s modifications to his American Chronicle opinion piece, I will be writing again to them with the link to this post as well.


My blog entry

Gary’s revised article (the original article is no longer available)

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