Tommy: If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”

Tommy Tucker, WWL First News
November 02, 2018 - 5:43 am

“If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”  - My dad

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my dad used to tell me and how it applies to our country today.  Where are we going and how will we know when we get there?

A recent Tulane University study came to the conclusion that people will believe what they already think to be true even though facts indicate they’re mistaken.  With all due respect to Tulane they wasted money.  All they had to do was sit with me every morning and listen to the phone calls and read the texts that I get.  I’ve not interacted with anyone who has ever come close to admitting they’re passing along falsehoods or rumors or they were wrong.  That being said, you can infer for yourself how many were willing to change their minds about anything the “other” side is saying. 

So where do we get our “facts?”  It’s odd that I would have to put facts into quotation marks, but that’s where we are today.  If what you say agrees with what I already believe, then it is indeed a fact.  If it disagrees with my already held belief, then it MUST be “fake news” or “propaganda,” because none of us could possibly be wrong, right?

Fox News tells it like it is.  Fox News is propaganda for the President.  CNN reports the truth without sucking up to the President.  CNN is determined to drive the President out of office.  And on it goes while we cover our ears and shout at each other as toddlers would. 

How do YOU determine what you believe to be true?  Is ANY story ABSOLUTELY true?  When I was at Shaw High a newspaper story came out that quoted our coach Joe Zimmerman as saying “the West Bank was bubbling about football.” Knowing Coach Z as I did and being as afraid of him as I was, I couldn’t imagine the word “bubbling” coming out of his mouth.  So I asked him if he had really said that. I don’t know how exactly long a nanosecond is, but I’d say it took about half of one for him to say “HELL NO! I DIDN’T SAY THAT!”  That stuck with me. Was the reporter involved deliberately trying to misquote the coach?  Was it a mistake?  Did he take sloppy notes and, facing a deadline, decided to wing it?

How many times has something happened to you or in your neighborhood and you saw a story about it online or on TV?  Has it always been accurate, or have you watched it and said, “That’s not what happened at all.”

The newsgathering and reporting process is a human endeavor.  Those involved act as gatekeepers. They decide what information gets through the gate into the story or what stays out.  Does bias enter into what they choose to include or exclude? I think it does, but not always intentionally.  As humans we all have to make subjective decisions about how we objectively pass along a story.  That’s how it is whether it’s the Wall Street Journal, one employee recounting a workplace story to another or even young children playing telephone.

NOTHING is ever completely accurate or objective.  Have you ever told somebody a story about a golf shot, family vacation, fishing trip, encounter with a rude person, son or daughter’s accomplishment, new car, financial success or even a trip to the “casina” WITHOUT EMBELISHING a tad or maybe just being a bit confused about what REALLY happened?  Perhaps you and a significant other had the same experience, yet the stories were 180 degrees apart?  And what about the infamous internet dress? 

“If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” 

Do WE know where we’re going as a nation?  Are we willing to open our ears and shut our mouths long enough so we can at least generally agree where we think the country should go and how we should get there?  I sure hope so.  If not, we’ll continue to go round and round and round and get nowhere. 

Join Tommy Tucker for the news & information you need…and the live, local, lively conversations you love…weekday mornings 6 to 10am on WWL 105.3FM, 870AM, WWL.com and anytime on the RADIO.COM app. 

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