Deflategate. You’ve heard about it unless you live under a rock. I don’t want to talk about it too much. This isn’t a post to defend or accuse the Patriots. Instead, I want to use it as an example about what the truth is worth in our culture today.
I was talking with my sister yesterday, who studied journalism in college and has written for a number of newspapers. She’s also worked in a niche area of the publishing industry for over a decade. As we were talking about the latest “anonymous reports” regarding Deflategate, she shared how frustrated she is about all the irresponsible journalism over the last few weeks. She said something along the lines of, “Gone are the days when giving a false report will cost you your job. It’s not a big deal anymore.”
It’s true. What is the truth worth today? Apparently, being right and accurate isn’t worth as much as being first to report something. The truth isn’t as valuable as attention. Creating a buzz is what matters.
Public opinion is swayed by the juicy story. We don’t withhold judgment until we get all the facts. We hear a soundbite, we read the latest “inside scoop,” and then we draw our conclusions. And once our mind is made up, we read every other report in light of what we’ve already decided is true.
I’ve seen a lot of Patriots fans do this: easily brushing off very dissapointing details of the case. I’ve seen even more people jump to the conclusion that the Patriots and Brady/Belichick are liars and cheaters. Can’t we wait until we have some facts. Instead, we rely upon unsubstantiated reports, many of which have now been rescinded and corrected.
When all is said and done with Deflategate, the Patriots will still come out as losers. Because so many have already made up their minds. Either they are guilty and justice will be served, or the NFL will clear the case and the public will cry “Injustice! We all know they’re guilty, the NFL is just afraid of losing Kraft’s support!” There is a lesson to learn here, regardless of your opinion regarding the Patriots: Is the truth worth enough to withhold judgment until you have reliable facts?
As Christians, will we value truth more highly than others? Will we withhold judgment, even against those we don’t like, until we really know what’s going on? Or will we also be quick to draw conclusions with incomplete information?
When you hear something juicy about someone, will you believe it and promote gossip and judgment? Or will you follow Jesus’ counsel in Matthew 18 to go first to the person directly to see if the report is true?
Are we hungrier for attention than we are for integrity? Is the truth more valuable than attention and buzz? Will we post our opinion on social media and watch our likes and retweets skyrocket because we are snarky and witty, or will we stay silent because it seems the truth has not yet been revealed?