Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Truth or Consequences

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Feb 16, 2017 8:00 PM

Discourse in America has taken an unpredictable turn in the 21st Century as "truth" and "lies" seem to have become interchangeable.

While Americans have become inured to the smudging of facts by advertisers, political leaders and certain media outlets, the brazenness of the unapologetic lying in both mass and interpersonal communication has been taken to a level that makes people question their perceptions of reality.

On Friday's Smart Talk, we'll discuss the value of truth and the harm of lies, how to differentiate the two and what we can do to promote honest dialogue to develop sustainable relationships with other people and institutions.

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Linda Beck / Kevin Mahoney / Jason Stanley

Joining us in studio are Kevin Mahoney, Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Kutztown University and founder of the Pennsylvania-based news and activism site, Raging Chicken Press.  Also in studio is Linda Beck who teaches as an adjunct professor of communications at several Pennsylvania colleges.  Joining us by phone from New York City is Jason Stanley, a Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of the 2015 book, How Propaganda Works.


on truth and lies:

-  This political climate reminds me of an ex girlfriend that I had who did not care about the substance of the discourse as long as it felt like she "won" the argument. and the TV is playing right into that.    - Thomas

- What do you make of the suggestion that President Trump's lies and ranting are an attempt to misdirect the media away from stories he wants to be drowned out? Is there something more sinister at play here?                                                                                                      - Tim, Marietta

How dishonest would it be to headline your show as a discussion of lying in the media, and then devote the entire show to trashing the POTUS?  I am no Trump fan, but it seems to me you are blind to your own dishonesty, and your show today verified much of what Trump said about the media in his press conference yesterday.                                                                                                                         - Victor

-  Lying, or telling un-truths is protected by the first amendment. 

Presidents have been impeached for lying to congress.  Tobacco was fined enormous sums for deceiving the public about tobacco.  So there are times when deception is not protected speech. 

At what point is lying to the public (and presumably congress in the process), an impeachable offense?

Is congress too weak to stand up?  When did they become an unequal branch of government?                                                                                                                                             - Scott

My husband and I watched Mr. Trump's press conference yesterday. He spent almost the entire time talking all about how wonderful he is, and how awful the media is. I give the reporters incredible credit to take that tongue lashing with stoicism. We are embarrassed that he is considered the "leader of the free world."

I recommend two books: Trump and Me, by Marc Fisher and Trump Revealed : An American journey of ambition, ego, money and power, by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher.

Lies, damn lies and "statistics!"                                                                  - Pat, Waynesboro

-  Too many who speak about the subject focus on the alleged deniers. I believe there is evidence there are some changes occurring. However, the cause is in question. Absolutely no one knows the cause and that's the rub. Some serious observers believe it is cyclical and not related to the burning of carbon fuels, etc. Let's be honest in our approach to the subject.

I just returned the book Weapons of Math Destruction to the library. Some of what the author says makes sense but a careful reading indicates the writer has Socialist proclivities. Keep that in mind when reading the book.                                                                                                                  - Jere

I appreciate your guest's contention that truths can be selective, but I actually experienced a flight/fight adrenaline incident listening to the live broadcast of The Entity's press conference yesterday, and could not prevent the moment-to-moment comparison to Adolf Hitler's early-and-always demeaning of the media and the other opposing parties to gain absolute control.

This must not be downplayed by those who can think and discern critically or we Could find ourselves in a horrific situation.                                                                                                        - Mitch, Chambersburg

- I'm an employee of Dauphin County Library System.  Can you please recognize public libraries and reference librarians as important resources for fact checking and educating yourself in information literacy.  Not everyone is comfortable with internet fact checking websites, so people should know that they can go to a person in their community for assistance with determining the truth in public discourse.                                                                                                      - Rita, Dauphin County

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