09/12/2012 10:31 am ET Updated Nov 12, 2012

We Like the Fact Checkers, and So Should You!

When did it become officially OK for public officials to blatantly lie without ever being called on the carpet except by opposing media?

Let's put it this way: If I'm a factory manager and I tell my boss that last week we made 1000 gizmos when we only really made 300 gizmos, then I WOULD LOSE MY JOB. There would be consequences. Apparently there are no consequences for telling bald-face lies during public speeches or when promoting political campaigns.

In contrast, at America's universities we hold our students to strict standards of academic integrity, and impose harsh consequences if those standards are violated. You get an "F" if you turn in someone else's work as your own; you can be dismissed for misrepresenting facts in an academic paper. Students are held to a code of conduct that teaches that cheating and misrepresentation of facts are unacceptable. So why is it OK in the real world?

In the political arena, all facts are now open to interpretation. Truth is blended so expertly with untruth that it becomes impossible to discern which is which. Truth can now depend on your point of view. Every political ad, every political speech is colored by perspective.

Without the solid ground of known and undisputed truth, how will our students know which facts are real and which are manipulated to fit the emotion of the moment?

What are some ways we can reinforce this solid ground of truth in our teaching? This is what we will be exploring in future blog posts!