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 Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

History depends on who's telling

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew

I recall an incident in my early years when a nasty bit of gossip about a neighbor made the rounds. I privately asked my father about it and he gave sound advice that I have never forgotten.

"Believe only 90 percent of what you see, 50 percent of what you read and 10 percent of what you hear."

Other times several people stood side by side viewing the same thing. A few days later each gave a different description of the incident. Who do you believe? What is true history and what is not?

Even when a lie is exposed, proven to be false, shown without a doubt to be untrue, some will still believe the original lie is the truth. Take the examples of Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Abraham Lincoln and the Kennedys. Stories abound, are continually brought back annually about the incidents and happenings in their lives most of which have been disproved and are ridiculous.

A reporter is no better than his resources. An opinion, like an editorial, is no better than the reader's opinion. The only people most editorials influence are readers who maybe have no prior opinion on the subject.

Another example of questionable journalism is shown in the fact most famous people hire professional speech writers to write their speeches. This indicates to me they don't know what they want to say in the first place.

The practice of ghost writing is so prominent in today's world a new term "spin doctor" has been coined. Here is an example of the work of a spin doctor. Please note this is a "Trew" story and not a bonafide "true" story as the real names have been omitted.

History states in published text (newspaper): "Joe Blow, a convicted horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison in 1885, escaped in 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times, was caught by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, then convicted and hanged in 1889." The photo accompanying the article showed Joe on the gallows with a noose around his neck standing ready to trip the trap door beneath.

Since Joe Blow was a relative of a prominent Congressman, who could not deny the genealogical connection and could be embarrassed by the article, a spin doctor was hired to gloss over history. Here is the result.

"Joe Blow was a famous Montana cowboy. His business grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with a Montana Railroad. He devoted years of his life to government service (prison sentence) and became a key player in a vital investigation by the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Joe passed away suddenly during an important civic function held in his honor when the wooden platform upon which he was standing collapsed."

It's absolutely amazing how smart my father became in my later years and how truthful his advice has been.


Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" March 24, 2008 Column
E-mail: trewblue@centramedia.net.

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