All that glitters is not gold

In modern times there is a proliferation of media. Television and the internet is bombarding the average viewer with audiovisual content on a per-minute basis.  Adding to it we have the traditional media: magazines and newspapers. We have a lot of information literally on our fingertips. But there is a real possibility that a majority of the things we see, hear and read, and ultimately believe are simply not true.

The late Steve Jobs of Apple Computers said in 2003 to the media, “I’m not convinced people want to watch movies on a tiny little screen.” Again, in 2004, he reiterated that Apple is concentrating on music, and not going to make a video iPod. And the next year, in 2005, the company unveiled its first video iPod.

So, at the time of Steve Jobs’ announcement that his company will not be producing a video iPod they were actively considering one. Though it became apparent that he was lying blatantly when he claimed that Apple will never make certain products, which it eventually did; Jobs was only appreciated for his management wiliness rather than being called a liar.

Reported speech often goes totally wrong. Media will report that someone said something, and after sometime it turns out that what was being said was entirely different. Sometimes it is even the opposite of the actual truth.

Politicians and businessmen talk a lot of stuff to the media. A lot of that is political rhetoric and well-thought-out jargon. There might not be an iota of truth in such statements. Yet, the media reports such statements verbatim and we automatically believe what is being printed as true.

Our emotions also influence our beliefs. If we really want the Indian cricket team to win, every news we read will be biased to that extend. We simply tend to ignore any news that is to the contrary. And if we do not like a particular sport star, any news that is defamatory we will imbibe and accept as true.

It is often accused that winners write ‘history.’ Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great, is depicted no less than a Greek God in his statues. I have heard that some historians claim that Alexander the Great was in reality of small stature (about 5’ 2” tall) and not-at-all good looking. He will forgive me if I am wrong.


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