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Charles Lewis: 935 Lies/The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity

Posted by Larry Doyle on June 23, 2014 8:42 AM |

One of the best lines I ever read in The Wall Street Journal was attributed to then CEO of First Boston, Allen Wheat. When asked about a senior executive who had recently departed the firm, Wheat rhetorically inquired and responded, “How do you know when he is lying? His lips move.”

Regrettably, couldn’t we say the same about so many of our so called political and business leaders? I think there is little doubt.

Life in and around Washington, Wall Street, and elsewhere in America now seems much more to revolve around rationalization than integrity. With the media often complicit in allowing the lying to go fully unchecked, our society suffers. Against this backdrop, I am very excited to pick up a copy of a book scheduled to be released tomorrow entitled 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity written by a new Sense on Cents favorite, but longstanding journalistic giant, Charles Lewis.

What are some of the Lies for The Ages, as designated by Lewis?:

“Cigarette smoking is no more ‘addictive’ than coffee, tea or Twinkies.”: James W. Johnston, CEO of RJR Nabisco (Congressional testimony), April 14, 1994

“If you like the [health care] plan you have, you can keep it.”:  President Barack Obama, November 6, 2009 (similarly stated numerous times)

“I can say categorically that . . . no one in the White House staff, no one in this Administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident.”: President Richard Nixon, discussing the Watergate burglary, press conference, August 29, 1972

“We found the weapons of mass destruction [in Iraq]. We found biological laboratories.”: President George W. Bush, May 29, 2003

In what reads like manna from heaven for those starving for the truth, a preview of Lewis’ book offers the following:

Facts are—and must be—the coin of the realm in a democracy, for a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” demands an informed citizenry. Unfortunately, for citizens in the United States and throughout the world, distinguishing between fact and fiction has always been a formidable challenge, often with life-and-death consequences. Those in power habitually seek to control the flow of information, corrupting its content and using lies, distortions, or simple suppression to cover their crimes.

Today that quest for truth is more difficult and confusing than ever. The cacophony of the internet, the flood of axe-grinding commentary on cable TV, and the growing legions of paid lobbyists and advocates eager to twist the truth all help to erode the sense of authority once granted to responsible journalists. History is sculpted by its absence.

Charles Lewis is a veteran of the battle for public integrity. 935 Lies explores the many ways truth is manipulated by governments and corporations. Through examples ranging from the countless lies administrations of both parties have used to justify needless wars to the successful decades-long corporate suppression of the truth about tobacco and other dangerous products, Lewis shows how the value of truth is diminished by delay. He explains the political, social, and business changes that have increasingly weakened the ability of journalists to play their traditional truth-telling role. And he describes the new trends, from the rise of nonprofit reporters to the growing numbers of “citizen journalists,” that give reason to be hopeful about the future of truth.

I welcome reading and reviewing this book.

Larry Doyle

Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book, In Bed with Wall Street: The Conspiracy Crippling Our Global Economy.

For those reading this via syndicated outlet or by e-mail or another delivery, please visit the blog to comment on this piece of ‘sense on cents.

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  • AuntyMM

    i saw him on washington journal this morning: http://www.c-span.org/video/?320867-4/washington-journal-author-charles-lewis-political-integrity

    very interesting. for those who want to understand reality amid the info blizzard, i recommend some training in the ‘hard’ sciences such as physics, as their rock-solid repeatability offers excellent discipline in not believing your own BS. still, this is no guarantee, as demonstrated by a fluid dynamics adjunct who believed that the devil spoke from LPs played backwards.

    given that ‘soft’ sciences such as sociology cannot depend on the kind of unforgiving repeatability seen in physics and (mostly) chemistry, discerning the truth about ourselves is rather more challenging.

    i have found that curiosity about phenomena/opinions i do not understand or could not have predicted has served me very well in extracting truth from the information blizzard, along with deeper reading over decades that shows the topology of long-term trends and histories.






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