Silly Season is upon us.
Technically, it’s fall or autumn, but it’s also silly season.
It’s that time of year when ordinarily nice, smart people say crazy things, take information out of context and use it to say something entirely different to mislead.
It’s political season, and as sure as the trees turn yellow, orange and red, normally sane people will post ridiculous comments on Facebook, illustrating just how uninformed they are.
Candidate A will run commercials berating candidate B for raising taxes X percent when the record reveals candidate A raised them X plus 1 percent.
We were reminded of the season last week when we received documentation that a political action committee (PAC) for a local candidate had mailed out an advertisement praising their candidate for being responsible for a piece of information they had lifted from a Sentinel story.
By listing us as the sole source it appeared we had actually made the complete statement. We didn’t. And if we had made the entire statement, it could have been construed as an endorsement. It wasn’t.
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The truth is no such statement was made in the newspaper. Not by us, and not by anyone else. In my world, that’s called a fabrication.
Oh, it had an element of truth to it in that the fact, the county’s growth rate as determined by the US Census Bureau, was printed in our newspaper.
But the PAC went on to attribute their candidates’ leadership as being responsible for that fact. I’m sure they believe that, and it’s expected that they would say so.
But when they attached their opinion, that their candidate was responsible, to our stated fact, that the county was the fastest growing in the state, and single sourced it to The Sentinel with an actual date of publication (which turned out to be incorrect) they, created a half-truth.
I don’t know about you, but when I was a child I got spanked for telling half-truths. My dad, probably like your dad, saw no distinction between half-truths and lies, so I was punished for lying, not half-truthing.
The candidate, when contacted for comment, claimed no knowledge or control over the PAC, as the law dictates. Believing the candidate is acting lawfully with regard to the PAC, we accept that as truth. We agree that the PAC is solely responsible.
PACs are accorded free speech rights with regard to donations, as though they are human beings. It’s too bad they aren’t required to share the human value of truthfulness.