The truth matters!
But my friends are confused!
Yes, they’re my friends. After all, they’re on Facebook, and it says they’re my friends! But I’m not sure what they think about me after today. The problem seems to be the truth. It’s a buzzkill.
Everyone was having so much fun until I showed up.
There was a post on Facebook, my favorite colloquial sandbox. Most of us have split up into groups, so we can talk about blueberries without being hassled by the raspberry people. But it’s a week before elections, and some of the fun has landed right on the public feed, right in the middle of Ye Ole Facebook Town Square.
I wasn’t afraid.
I don’t know the candidate. His name is Seth. He seems okay. He’s unaffiliated. He has a child in school in my local district, and is running for school committee in Westerly, RI.
Approaching things as I always do, as a reporter, in the middle, I consistently find, these days, myself leaning one way after doing a little research. I’ll report the facts, but quite often some “factual” conclusions can be construed from methods of slinging information as well as from an intense lack of facts!
“Here we go!” I thought … down the rabbit hole!
The accusation was from a local resident. A story was printed about Seth which stated he graduated from a college, then a correction appeared (Westerly Sun) that said he “attended,” not graduated from the college. That was all that happened.
There wasn’t really an issue, other than the resident, Wendy Carr, thought there might be. A small hoard of blind robotic followers chimed in to assassinate the character of … whoever.
Despite not really knowing what they were talking about, a lively thread emerged before my eyes. Never having met the candidate, but suspecting laziness-based foul play, I was intrigued. With no child in the system any longer, my interest is as taxpayer, voter, citizen and observer. It was accusation after accusation, against a man who may be a fine candidate, by the owner of a local Mexican restaurant, Carr, with Carr carrying little ammunition but still having a firestorm of sheep, hoping for the “truth,” supporting her imaginary issue.
Carr started the thread: “The Westerly Sun changed Westerly School Committee Candidate Seth Logan GRADUATED From Northeastern University to Seth Logan ATTENDED Northeastern University 5hrs ago. He didn’t graduate or earn any degree from this University although he consistently implies he did with his wording. It’s misleading, dishonest, and definitely NoT transparent; all qualities he likes to accuse others of being. If he can’t be honest about his education, what else is he lying about?”
Immediately a sitting member of the school committee, Diane Chiaradio Bowdy, chimed in … “Yes, the TRUTH really does matter!” … the theme of this article; a blessed and precious topic to me.
She capitalized it.
I had already run through the thread and sent a message to the newspaper, asking for clarification, and already received a response. It seemed odd that, though many threadsters were high on truth, none had the energy to ask the reporter … why the correction? I replied to Bowdy: “Yes, that is important. Seems important enough to find out more about.” But I already knew. These people didn’t ask the question, ’cause they don’t want the answer. That’s a problem. I can help. You want the truth, Carr and Bowdy? You asked for it.
Should I apologize for finding it? You can wait.
It took ten minutes to get the TRUTH:
(Printed with permission, which was also easy to get.)
“Hi Mark, there was no intent either way to deceive, I can assure you, and I take blame for the mistake. It was written he attended classes there, he himself did not actually claim to have graduated. In my effort to cast a wide net for election coverage, I shifted the term in his response while writing and that led to the mistake. I am sorry for any confusion it has caused, but I do have to say I have nothing in my notes or his written responses to suggest Seth lied or said he graduated. This one needs to fall on me.”
Thank you, Jason.
In the meantime, this is what you’ll see on Facebook:
Debra Serra Pendola
So not cool on so many levels.
A lying candidate ….. that’s my shocked face
Words matter. Don’t elect the uninformed, unethical and uneducated to the school committee.
What is your opinion as a School Committee Candidate about Seth Logan misleading the public with his education and experience in the public forums and interviews?
Susan Vacca Morgan
That is wrong! It’s fraud! What kind of background checks have been done?
All these people, if they really wanted THE TRUTH, could have asked the reporter, but didn’t, because they only had time to agree with libel without bothering to seek any truth. This is a sin. So now, Seth, the candidate I’ve never met, is automatically a fraudster, an unethical, uneducated liar misleading the public, in the eyes of all these qualified voters, and more who will be served up hogwash in their feed.
I could rip this shit apart easier than blowing out a candle. Look at what they’re saying! It’s all so vague, but so intentional. And Carr thinks the way to “cover” the story is to elicit a response to her wild speculation (about a non-important issue) from another candidate! Boy, is she looking for the truth!
At the top of the thread will remain the poignant truth … not about reality, but about Facebook:
Diane Chiaradio Bowdy
Yes, the TRUTH really does matter!
Unfortunately, Diane was not available to actually inquire about the truth, lest she lose a few minutes enraptured at her own success sounding virtuous.
I’m a news reporter. A real one. I won’t apologize. But I won’t go to the Mexican restaurant, either.
I’m still getting pushback, and it’s so tenuous, from Carr. What drives these people to write the post in the first place when they know it’s pure speculation? Fun and games? Not in my book.
My thanks to Jason Vallee from the Westerly Sun newspaper for being forthright and fair minded. He said to me “I support the truth even if it needs to be that I made a mistake.”
I was on-air as a News Director in radio, where I worked 25-years; I know it can be tedious and mistakes can be made. Just be careful, the public is energized to misinterpret any small bit of scrap to feed their need to spout bullshit.
I also posted this: “If you all are interested in discussing politics, that’s wonderful, but please don’t say “the truth matters” while dragging an unknown “issue” through a public sandbox with no apparent intent to actually care what the truth is. My entire “investigation” took ten minutes right here on Facebook. Anyone could have asked.”
Sensible, huh? Carr came right back at me with some nonsense about Seth’s major in college … “The implication of having a major is that you graduated. Stop the word play. He’s misleading the public.”
She accused ME of playing with words, after exhausting her own imagination trying to accuse someone of something that didn’t happen. And she accused him of being misleading!
I’m the guy who discovered the truth, so I’m playing with words.
You’re welcome, sweetheart. Buen provecho!
Welcome to 2022, the year all the lights went dim.
Mark Urso is a former hippie who sees ideology today is divided not by political party or leaning, but by right versus wrong, and modern progressive-types have ruined hippie. A 1984 graduate of Boston College, Urso wrote local news daily for 25-years, contributing stories regularly to AP, and hosted a live one-hour radio show with daily guests ranging from the annual cat show organizer to senators and celebrities. He can be found at Quora (3.7m views) and markurso.com.