(April 2) On this Good Friday, perhaps a line from Pontius Pilate in the Good Friday epic Jesus Christ Superstar helps explain the attitudinal errors now so common among today’s media.

Jesus says this to the Roman governor: “I look for truth and find that I get damned.” To which Pilate responds: “But what is truth? Is truth unchanging law? We both have truths. Are mine the same as yours?”

That last line was a subversive camel’s nose under the tent of normative ethics — the philosophical position that some actions or attitudes are inherently, by their very nature, right, and that some are wrong. The postmodern “progressive” approach, the version voiced by Pilate, contradicts this idea frequently, with the hideous expression “my truth,” rather than merely “truth” or “the truth,” becoming commonplace, as if truth were merely a point of view.

Even for those of us who are traditionalists, though, “truth” in the indivisible sense is not something to be lightly determined. Because humans are fallible, we must take great care, often with searching inquiry, before we pronounce something to be “the truth.” Truth is not merely an opinion but a near-sacred constant. But because it is in the realm of the sacrosanct, we should hesitate to claim it, lest we are unintentionally misguided or mistaken.

With that in mind, cue Lester Holt, the anchor of NBC Nightly News. Given the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award this week, Holt made the deliberately provocative statement in his acceptance speech that “fairness is overrated.” He went on to explain that what he meant was that the supposed “fairness” of giving equal time and weight to all sides sometimes would entail giving equal time to claims or beliefs that are demonstrably false….

[To read the full column, and to understand why Holt was wrong, please follow this link.]


Tags: , , , ,