What the Devil will tell you
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I like to stay away from using the word "truth," when what we really mean is "fact." Facts are knowable things. Truth can be dicey.
Two people of equal intelligence can look at the same field of information and draw completely different truths from it. Facts... the Arizona Wildcats did not beat Duke in national championship. It's proof God was dead that day but it didn't happen no matter how much I choose to think otherwise. It didn't rain today in Tucson. It just didn't.
Newsgathering is the act of chasing facts and presenting them to the public so the people can make rational decisions.
Increasingly, big money and even foreign governments are trying to flood the American information zone with lies about coronavirus, elections, race and democracy itself.
People have to fight through it to find the reality with which they can accurately assemble their truth but increasingly the truth is hidden behind paywalls. Newsrooms are figuring out how to monetize the web and that's how they are doing it.
The auteurs of disinformation are more than happy to spread lies for no cost.
I get why the for-profit media is making the decisions to charge for their information. Producers of a free product find it hard to pay the bills to keep the lights on and people employed to do a job.
And journalism is a job. Reporters must develop a familiarity that leads to expertise. That requires time on tool, and that time is worth something. That's how we spend our time here at TucsonSentinel.com. And we provide the facts — to you, your family and neighbors and people who live across town — for free.
Then you can assemble the truth as you see it but at least it starts with facts and hearing arguments that are rationally built on them (like what you'll find in my columns).
If the building blocks of truth require an upfront cost and the lies are free and easy, the lies suddenly have a competitive advantage.
That's bad for everybody whether they know it or not. We can't have neutral application of the law unless the law is answerable to all the people. And the people can't know the state of play, without dedicated professionals working to get the facts to the people.
Why does it fall to readers like you to help sustain this work? Well, it's in lieu of paying for the product that holds some value at the moment you access it. Unlike corporate chains, our nonprofit newsroom doesn't have a paywall. Instead, those who understand the importance of truly independent local journalism make a civic investment in the Sentinel, so we can continue digging into stories that would otherwise not be told.
The cool part is that right now, thanks to NewsMatch, including a special matching grant from the Loud Hound Partner Fund, and the generous support of the local leaders of our Community Challenge Fund, your tax-deductible donations to our nonprofit newsroom can be MATCHED 2-1.
That means if you give $20/mo. to subscribe to the Sentinel as a member of our Watchdog Club, then NewsMatch and the Challenge Fund will turn it into $720. These funders are making sure they giving to a newsroom with solid local support — which is why your gifts will trigger even more funding for our work.
Plus, with a just-announced bonus grant, the Google News Initiative will add another $1,000 to our year-end fundraising if we have 100 new contributors during NewsMatch. And we've got just 17 left to go to meet that goal! Sign up for the Watchdog Club today and you can push us over that finish line.
Show them what you've got, Tucson.
TucsonSentinel.com is increasingly a rarity. We provide the path to the truth, and do it for free. But real news costs money to report and publish. Support the Sentinel today — your gift can be tripled by NewsMatch and our generous local donors.
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Blake Morlock is an award-winning columnist who worked in daily journalism for nearly 20 years, and as a communications director for the Pima County Democratic Party. Now he’s telling you things that the Devil won’t.