Maybe I should flag it and move on.
March 21, 2013 3:45 PM Subscribe
What do you do when you see a cause you sympathize with being potentially harmed by the well-meaning incompetence/laziness of its nominal voice?
posted by ricochet biscuit to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There is a political/social cause I take some interest in and am sympathetic to; what it is is not important for the purposes of the question -- I am trying to avoid a derail into the merits of the cause -- but suffice it to say that it is something only mildly controversial and one which quite a few mefites are on record as being on board with. For sake of argument, let us say it is slowing ballooning post-secondary tuitions.
There are a few Facebook pages devoted to this and one recently posted a piece centering around a damning quote from a conservative newspaper to the effect that, if anything, tuition fees should go up faster. The quote was from decades ago and the gist of the presented piece was that this battle has been going on for years. There was a whole lot of mockery in the comments about the shortsightedness of the newspaper's editors and a thousand or so people clicked "Like."
The trouble is, the nominal date for the quote was well before the newspaper existed. I pointed this out in the comments and was given a glib and incorrect rejoinder to the effect that $CurrentlyExistingNewspaper used to be called $DefunctNewspaper. I pointed out that no, this was incorrect, and others took it a step further and checked the archives of $DefunctNewspaper to point out that in any event, the quote does not appear in that day's edition either.
The Facebook page editors shrugged and said it was submitted as part of an entry into a video contest to raise awareness about rising tuition costs (a link to this video on YouTube was also on their page). They said they would check with the creator of the video, but two weeks later, there is no further word.
The contest for the video submissions was held by a national organization (let us say the Canadian Federation of Students) and is posted on YouTube under their account. I looked at their website for the number of their social media person, called their offices, and mentioned that while a number of the video entries posted online were quite good and effective (true), one of the entries had an entirely invented fact as its centrepiece. The social media person told me, "Oh, we do not check those for content." I was a little rattled, but pointed out that it was still online under the CFS name, and offered easy ammunition for any opponent who wanted to say they were inventing facts to suit themselves and falsely attributing quotes to their opponents. She laughed, "Oh, there is quite a lineup of people doing that already." Okay, then. At that point I let it go, figuring I had done all I could do.
I am not a student and I have no particular dog in this fight, but I would rather not see the next generation of students be in debt for twenty years. And if there is an organization that nominally represents the interests of students and they are posting easily disprovable lies to support their cause, it pains me, although I am in sympathy with the cause. They do face criticisms from conservatives: why give their critics more ammo?
How do others get past this frustration with institutions -- particularly institutions you support -- not giving a damn about reality, but shrugging and figuring that the truth does not matter?