Reply To: I’m leaving this site now because of a recent decision by mods (or one mod?)

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Clark – you sound more like ‘The Guardian’ with every post. Who’s truth am I disrespecting? Your ‘truth’ Your ‘sacred facts’? The Guardian states “Comment is free, but facts are sacred”. So your statement

“People are entitled to their opinions, but they should respect facts; avoiding or misrepresenting facts is dishonest.”

suggests that there are facts which must always be respected and if a different interpretation of those facts is posited that amounts to dishonesty.So if N_ (or anyone else) represents facts in a manner to which you don’t concur, or puts forward alternative facts, that isn’t their opinion or commentary it is a violation of some sacred fact. As historian Howard Zinn put it in the Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy, Seven Stories Press, 1997:

“Behind any presented fact… a judgement-the judgement that this fact is important to put forward (and, by implication, other facts may be ignored). And any such judgement reflects the belief, the values of the historian [or journalist], however he or she pretends to ‘objectivity’.

As the commentary to this passage in Propaganda Blitz-How the Corporate Media Distort Reality reads:

“In other words, facts are not more ‘sacred’ than comment, because facts are a form of comment. The historian or journalist selects and highlights this fact rather than that fact.

The suggestion that media employees (journalists) are ‘neutral’ suppliers of ‘sacred’ facts, allows media corporations owned and sponsored by billionaires to claim that they are merely highlighting the objectively most important facts.

Clark’s dismissal of this argument as being merely a fashionable relativism, attractive but superficial, is trite in the extreme. Of course there are fallacies both good and bad, honesty. Facts are verifiable and in the context of the pandemic, there are various ‘facts’ set out by scientists of different disciplines reaching different conclusions. These findings are not absolute but may vary over time and what is presented as a fact may be changed over time.

Let me illustrate this further with an apposite example. In Mr Murray’s case, starting on Wednesday. The prosecution will, somewhere in the pleadings, have to sign a statement or statements that in their belief, the facts stated in the Crown’s case are true. In English law, both statements of case and witness statements, have to contain statements of truth. The precise statement currently in use in England for verifying witness statements (I accept the Scots Law statement may be different) is as follows:

“I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true. I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.”

Mr Murray should, by Clark’s argument, just accept that these are ‘the facts’ and therefore true. Why? because the statement maker asserts his belief that they’re true. But Mr Murray has his facts that he also believes are true. The judge will be in Clark’s position; the sole arbiter of what ‘facts’ are true. Let’s hope Mr Murray’s team can cast sufficient doubts on the prosecution’s ‘sacred’ facts and put forward their truths.

I really couldn’t give a toss about whether Clark (or indeed the moderating team) will be glad if I push off. Neither do I care whether N- pushes off or not. What I will always resist are virtue signallers, happy only if their opinions and assertion of their facts are allowed to justify censorship on the specious basis that they hold the monopoly of what’s good for society as a whole.

All the best for Wednesday Mr Murray. In these dark times, even small triumphs over the powers in charge, give a glimmer of hope to the rest of us.