Is the Truth Overrated? We Asked, You Answered

Is the Truth Overrated? We Asked, You Answered

Why you should care

Because this isn’t fake news.

Welcome to Third Rail With OZY, a new TV show presented by OZY and WGBH, where we debate provocative hot topics with experts and celebrities every Friday night. The subject of last week’s show was “Is the truth overrated? Is lying the American way?” You answered, and here are your thoughts, edited for clarity. Check back tomorrow for the question we’ll be debating this Friday on PBS at 8:30 EST.

Missed last week’s episode? Catch up here!

Gerry Lavoie Mitchell, Fresno, California

We need to give people permission to have different points of view from us. If they truly believe something, they are not lying. They can still be wrong, though. For example, when [former President Barack] Obama said you can keep your doctor, he was going on what he had been told. The plan was to keep your doctor. Just because things didn’t work out doesn’t mean he lied.

Dan Ehrlich, London

These days the truth seems to be becoming more and more subjective. Much of this is what Trump calls “fake news,” and it seems prevalent among coddled and spoiled millennials. Curiously, Trump seems to have a millennial mindset and loves to deal in his own brand of fake news. The political and social left is awash in fake news designed to fit into its anti-everything narrative, even though some of those views are contrary to what the left has long preached. The right doesn’t have this problem so much since it dwells in the past, where truth was more factual, and its time is spent trying to defend these often archaic views.

Mary Carr-Jackson, Atlanta

The truth is not overrated — obviously we all lie (little white lies) in order not to hurt someone’s feelings, but really, that does not count. Lying to your constituents about life-changing issues (e.g., health insurance) is not accepted. You represent us, you are our arms and hands within our government — don’t lie to us.

Malcolm Gladwell

Linda Wagner, Seattle

Judy Highfill

I think truth is very important, but as the discussion readily showed, people around the world do not agree on what the truth is! Part of the difference is lack of education; part of it is blindly following some religions; part of it is greed; part of it is pure ignorance, or disinterest in discovering what is actually true about so many things/ideas/values and people. We’re a diverse group of humans … so it’s no surprise that we don’t all agree on everything.

Allie Rose

Bruce Davidson

The very concept of civil society and rule of law depends on our ability to trust what the government, businesses and fellow citizens are saying. “Trust but verify” is great, but we have come to a point where we have been lied to so often that we can’t even agree on what the basic facts are.

Rita Sommers-Flanagan, Absarokee, Montana

What is true cannot be overrated or underrated. It simply is. The importance of the truth in a given situation is what must be evaluated. Do we want to base economic or policy decisions on the best possible available, accurate information? Do we want to invest time and affection in a relationship with a liar? Do we want to be told exactly how wrinkled our face has become? How important are these dimensions of truth? We cannot make the truth go away. But if we don’t like it, we can hide from it.

PBS audience

OZYPOV

Interviews, op-eds, and analysis to help you make sense of the news of the day and the news of the future.