Separating fact from spin

Columnist Diana French rants about lying in her latest column

Today’s rant is about kinds of lying. Lies range from little white fibs to big black whoppers. Twisting the truth to be polite, or to win an argument, or even to pull a leg or two, is socially acceptable. Sometimes we repeat a story in good faith because it came from a person we trust. (Is it a lie if you believe what you are saying is true?) Even little kids tell porkies, but lying by withholding information, or  providing misinformation through bafflegab and obfuscation, are not okay.

Modern technology gives us instant news, but we often aren’t any  wiser for it because there is so much information from so many different sources it’s difficult to sort fact from fancy. Propaganda (communications that present only one side of an issue rather than giving an impartial view) is one form of lying but a newer breed of PR people, spin doctors, go further. Big governments and big corporations pay big money to these experts to “spin” or manipulate the facts to suit particular interests. Spreading misinformation isn’t seen as fibbing, it’s more “we’re right and we don’t have to listen to you.”

We usually recognize tall tales meant to entertain us, but we don’t always recognize spin-doctored news.

We don’t always know what’s being withheld, or downplayed by the media, but some issues obviously aren’t deemed as newsworthy as others.

The Idle No More movement  was triggered by Bill C-45, Prime Minister Harper’s second omnibus budget bill. Along with the changes in the Indian Act, Idle No More is concerned over the gutting of both the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Environmental Assessment Act.

We aren’t hearing much about those two, although the changes are hugely relevant to all of us especially in light of environmental issues like pipelines, tankers, mines, dams, run of the river projects, etc. Not worth spinning I guess.