Who fact checks the fact-checkers?
Pope John Paul II, in his 1995 encyclical “Evangelium vitae,” wrote that the culture of death is a “structure of sin,” among other things. In a culture where abortion is considered by many to be a “human right” and euthanasia or assisted suicide is considered to adhere to human dignity, it’s no wonder lying — the most common of sins — is the norm.
Lying is so common that the people charged with championing truth are liars themselves. Truth relativists — those who claim individuals create truth rather than searching for it outside of themselves — appear to have won the day. In one glaring example, the BBC’s disinformation correspondent Marianna Spring, was caught dead-to-rights lying in her resume to land a job, according to The New European, a U.K. outlet.
Don’t get me wrong. Everybody lies. We’re all guilty. The problem is that we no longer live in a culture where “a man is as good as his word” but one where “you’re as good as the lie you can get away with.”
In 2018, Spring was seeking work as a Moscow stringer for the U.S.-based Coda Story. She sent an application to Natalia Antelava, the editor-in-chief, and included her resume, part of which read, “June 2018: Reported on International News during the World Cup, specifically the perception of Russia, with BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford,” according to the European.
It was a lie. Spring had never worked with Rainsford. She’d only met with her in social situations a couple of times. That’s what happens when you think you create reality, a relativist position that is common in America. A 2021 Washinton Times article, “Poll: Most Americans say ‘truth’ is subjective, no absolute right or wrong,” found that 54% of those surveyed believe truth to be relative.
The survey was taken by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University. The center’s research director, Mr. Barna, told the Times that the results reflect an emerging “nontraditional moral order in America.” Another way of putting it is that more than half of Americans — not just naive college freshmen but Americans at large — no longer care about distinguishing between what’s true or false.
“If I decide it’s in my best interests to lie to you, I’ll do it,” Barna continued. “Interpersonal deception will become more common and we’ll have lower levels of trust toward other people, making it harder to have relationships because we’ll no longer trust that what other people tell us is real.”
That’s as close to a living hell as you can get — you can’t trust anyone, not even yourself because you are imprisoned in a cell of your own creation. In this relativist version of hell, you’re your own jailer and you’ve swallowed the key to your cell.
Relativism isn’t confined to America. Spring’s lie had to travel across the Atlantic to land on Antelava’s desk.
Antelava — who apparently still has an objective concept of truth — checked Rainsford and found out Spring had fabricated her working relationship with the BBC reporter. Antelava confronted Spring for the lie and in return received an email from Spring scrambling to apologize for her “awful misjudgment”.
“I’ve only bumped into Sarah whilst she’s working and chatted to her at various points but nothing more,” Spring’s email read. She assured Antelava that “everything else is true” and — wait for it — she was “a brilliant reporter.”
One might choose to have mercy on someone for lying on a resume if they believed that the liar was truly repentant. The “brilliant reporter” bit in Spring’s email undercut her credibility even further instead of alleviating any of her guilt.
Antelava wasn’t buying it. “Telling me you are a brilliant reporter who exercises integrity and honesty when you have literally demonstrated the opposite was a terrible idea,” Antevala admonished.
Antevala added, “I am sure if you use this as a lesson, things will work out,” effectively slamming the door in Spring’s face.
That’s a headscratcher. It’s not like Spring was akin to an expert criminal computer hacker hired by the government to combat criminal hackers. She lied to get a job and when she was caught she was given a job by a major news outlet as a “disinformation correspondent,” whatever Orwellian job that is. How can you trust a news outlet that hires liars to hold liars in check? It doesn’t make sense.
Then again, nothing makes sense when the truth is relative.
We live in a culture where far too many see lying as a human right rather than a sin and human dignity is no longer maintained by virtue and humility but by manipulation.
It’s a culture of death and it is alive and well.
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