As the media is entrusted to inform, educate and hold power to account, according to the principles it is said to uphold, it has the additional responsibility of serving the public good. Questions raised and answered, and answered again and again, may be partly an effort to find the real truth; but so often they are raised in an atmosphere of murky material, far less concrete and valuable than the original evidence has been.
The theory of the grassy knoll
and the assassination of John F. Kennedy came in shades that raised questions of its own. Despite the fact the Warren Commission had every reason to look carefully at difficult evidence, the conspiracy theories about the evidence continued, despite pictures of Kennedy’s death, the bullet hole and blood as its evidence, and the police documentation as well. Was John F. Kennedy killed by one man or two? The debate goes on in spite of the original evidence that outlines Lee Harvey Oswald could likely have acted alone. The naysayers said he had help from some unnamed person, from some grassy knoll area near. The trust issues raised by the doubters, however, imply that government agencies, including the police, needed to hide the truth from the people. And the people, remember, is us.
The questions about President Obama’s birth certificate too raised some issues, again on that matter of trust. Some were extreme enough to maintain once the President had released the long form of his birth certificate, that it is really a forgery
with the Associated Press support. Those who doubted the evidence of Obama’s birth in Hawaii at Kapiolani Hospital in Honolulu had to disregard the concrete material provided by the hospital, newspaper, health records and family memories as well as eyewitness accounts from Governors Lingle and Abercrombie, Republican and Democrat, who both attested to seeing the long form of the certificate as truth. The conspiracy mongers raised questions again and implied we could not trust anything we weren’t there to see for ourselves. Some folks wondered why the mainstream press exacerbated the problem, giving more and more air time to Donald Trump's demands
to see Obama's birth certificate. Trust is undermined when people forget that the government for and by the people, again is, all the same, only us.
The photos of Osama bin Laden are now being demanded left and right by left and right politicians and media people
who again might never be satisfied with less than what they experience or see for themselves. And why should they even trust that, since science has found two people seeing the same thing will often see and describe it differently, with wrongful criminal convictions that can result.
We trust the sun shines in Ohio, although some of us haven’t been there. And some trust there’s a God in some heaven, relying on just faith alone. Yet doubt is raised over and over, as the media brews a quite toxic sludge.
While the media’s mission is to uncover truth for us all, the question we all need to ask at this moment is when can we celebrate trust?