NPR: “The Death of Facts in an Age of ‘Truthiness'”

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Stephen Colbert coined the term 'truthiness' meaning that the truth is what you know to be true in your gut, regardless of whether or not it's actually true.

You may have noticed that the truth has been suffering a lot lately. People tend to believe what they want to believe, regardless of whether or not it’s actually true — and increasingly, maintain their beliefs regardless of the facts.

Over the weekend, NPR’s Guy Raz talked with Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke about his recent column in which he wrote a eulogy for facts. According to Huppke, the “death blow” occurred on Wednesday, April 18, when Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida announced that about 80 Democratic congressmen are members of the Communist Party.

Huppke explained to Raz that:

One call to the Communist Party USA confirmed that this was, in fact, not true. According to them, no one in the U.S. House of Representatives is a member of the Communist Party. Days later, Allen West stood by his comments.

So that led Huppke to the idea that if someone of any political party can say something so patently untrue and stand by it — which seems to happen more and more often, he says — then facts must be meaningless and dead.

Listen to the entire story at

And it doesn’t hurt that the crazier the things you say — like, for instance, that Democrats are nine-foot-tall aliens (West, again) — the more political donations you receive. But that’s another story. Read it at Mother Jones »

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  • Warren221

     In history as in life it is success that counts.
    Start a political upheaval and let yourself be caught, and you will hang
    as a traitor.

  • Rebecca Billard

    Thank you Bill Moyers & Company for being the voice of reason. I really was taken in by your observation reagarding the ghost of Senator Mc Carthy. As a student of history it is most important to me to be reminded of the lessons already learned.

    As a young person I remember outlining a futuristic story where there were two kinds of people in the world, those that believed what they saw/ heard on TV and those that knew better. That story came to mind during your last broadcast with Jonathan Haidt.

  • David F., N.A.

    “2 + 2 = 5″

  • Anonymous

    No where is “motivated reasoning” more prevalent than in politics and religion and the collusion of the two by so called “evangelical” wing nuts.  Unfortunately as one church sign in my community put it “The Moral Majority is neither!”.  It seems that many are so blinded by their prejudiced preconceptions that the truth eludes them completely.