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Telling the truth

From courtrooms to potted plants, the search for truth goes to unexpected places

Telling the truth

People walk by the front of the New York Times Building in Manhattan. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

The news about news continues to dominate headlines, and on Sept. 14, The New York Times demonstrated again why readers have legitimate reasons to question media giants: A Times story reported an accusation that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was involved in a lewd and sexually aggressive encounter against a female student in college.

Several Democratic presidential candidates immediately called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment.

The next day, the Times appended an extraordinary “editors’ note” to the story: They had failed to mention that the purported victim refused to speak with their reporters—and that her friends told them she doesn’t remember the purported encounter with Kavanaugh.

Telling the truth demands reporting such details, whatever the rest of the story includes. (The Times reporters said their editors excised the details.)

That didn’t stop Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., from sending an email to supporters of her presidential campaign after the clarification, deriding Kavanaugh’s “illegitimate nomination” and asking for campaign contributions.

Why keep targeting Kavanaugh?

Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal offered several possibilities, including this one: “Because the authority and legitimacy of future rulings that are not pleasing to progressives (most prominently, perhaps, on Roe v. Wade) can be undermined through footnotes that say ‘the 5-4 decision was joined by a justice credibly accused of sexual assault.’”

Meanwhile, 3,000 miles away, a remarkable scene of truth-telling about abortion was unfolding in a California courtroom.

Pro-life advocates David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt are fighting 14 felony counts related to their secret recordings of Planned Parenthood workers describing how they procure and sell unborn baby body parts. A preliminary hearing on Sept. 18 included testimony from Forrest Smith, an abortionist who estimates he’s conducted some 50,000 abortions.

The abortionist testified on behalf of the pro-life advocates.

After listening to Planned Parenthood workers in the undercover videos, Smith said he believed it was clear they weren’t following the protocol expected of most abortionists. Smith said the Planned Parenthood workers described a type of “tumultuous labor” that would cause the baby to come out without the assistance of an abortionist.

“There’s no question in my mind that some of these fetuses were live births,” Smith said. “No question it’s alive.”

Though Smith was a paid witness for the defense, his candor was stunning, according to a report by LifeSite News: “You can kill a human being, which I admit abortion is—but you have to do it in certain ways.”

There’s no right way to kill a baby, and Illinois police confronted that grisly truth as they reported a harrowing discovery in the home of a deceased abortionist: 2,246 medically preserved remains of unborn children.

The family of abortionist Ulrich Klopfer reported the find to police after Klopfer’s death in early September. Authorities said the human remains were stored in small, sealed plastic bags placed in cardboard boxes in his garage.

With such a horrifying discovery, pro-lifers likely were relieved to hear better news: In 2017, the number of babies who died by abortion hit its lowest mark since Roe v. Wade in 1973. But even that’s tempered with sadness: The total number of abortions still reached more than 860,000.

Eric Ginnard/The Herald-News via AP

Police officers block the entrance to the site of a former abortion center Ulrich Klopfer operated in Fort Wayne, Ind. (Eric Ginnard/The Herald-News via AP)

Democratic presidential candidates aren’t giving up their advocacy for abortion, but they talked about plenty of other issues in their televised debate on Sept. 12. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang announced he would give $1,000 a month to 10 American families over the next year, a mini-experiment in his proposal for the federal government to give every American adult $1,000 a month.

The expensive proposition came during the same week the Treasury Department reported eye-popping figures: The U.S. budget gap had widened to $1 trillion in the first 11 months of the fiscal year. 

As the Treasury Department confessed the country’s debt, students from Union Seminary confessed their ecological sins—to potted plants. A photo on Twitter included an explanation: “Today in chapel, we confessed to plants … to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we often fail to honor.” The tweet was low-hanging fruit, and plenty of Christians pointed out we should pray to the Creator, not the creation.

A day later, a potential cinematic sin grabbed attention on Twitter: A report from Variety magazine suggested that movie moguls were considering a remake of the classic film The Princess Bride.

Even in a highly partisan country, the truth about the beloved fairy tale seemed clear to fans across the spectrum: Tinkering with the movie is inconceivable.

Jamie Dean

Jamie Dean

Jamie is WORLD’s national editor based in Charlotte, N.C. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.


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  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Thu, 09/26/2019 05:22 pm

    We're living in a world where truth is extremely unpopular.  Secularists used to claim science as their foundation, but they've moved on.  Science tells us when something is alive, or what its gender is and whether CO2 is poison and so on.  Now the agenda is all that matters.  Those who disagree have become heretics.

  • JerryM
    Posted: Thu, 09/26/2019 05:34 pm

    An important and valuable juxtaposition of stories (NYT vs Daleiden).  The NYT reporters went on to do an interview with NPR (a purported anti-Kavanaugh ally).  I understand the thrust of the interview was to focus on the allegations and downplay any problems with reporting.  It is a million times a million of these often subtle biases that work to convince an often unconscious public of the truth.

  • Janet B
    Posted: Thu, 09/26/2019 09:48 pm

    Yep, remaking The Princess Bride would be a sin.  Some things just shouldn't be messed with.

  • not silent
    Posted: Fri, 09/27/2019 12:35 pm

    I hate to say it, but the problems with truth haven't been limited to secular media. Several years ago, I was very troubled when Christian friends began sending me emails with allegations against a presidential candidate; but I could not find any evidence to back them up.  When I asked my friends about it, they said they "usually" checked things like that out but they had NOT done so with that particular bit of info. Meanwhile, the email kept going around without correction or retraction.

    The year was 2008, and the candidate was Barack Obama.  I did not support him as a candidate, but it still concerned me that unfounded allegations were being presented as fact in more than one email.  

    I thought most people would WANT the truth, particularly Christians; but, whenever I questioned anything in an email, my friends got mad at me and removed me from their email lists. I wasn't upset about being removed from email lists, and I knew my friends meant well; but I could not help feeling concerned about how casual everyone was with the information they were spreading verbally and online.

    Now we find ourselves demanding truth from secular media.  I am not saying or implying that this is the fault of Christians.  I think it's human nature.  Nor am I claiming that there aren't any Christians who care about truth.  From what I've seen, World tries to present things as objectively as possible while still maintaining a Christian focus.  But I guess I don't see how Christians or conservativesw have much moral authority to demand all the facts if some of our number have been willing to pass on unfounded allegations about political opponents at least since 2008!  It can be very HARD to figure out what the truth is; but, if we are going to demand that others do their due diligence, we are going to have to do ours.  And I have to start with myself.