Truth be told…
The first casualty when war comes is truth, is a quote attributed to an American senator, Hiram Johnson. Do all Johnsons have an interesting relationship with the truth?
With another gruesome shooting war about to be waged in the Middle East, the fight for the moral high ground has also started and the protagonists’ versions of truth are about to be tested to the limit.
When Russia invaded Ukraine, arguably the moral high ground was easier to navigate. The facts of a flagrant land grab were less nuanced. At least, to anyone living West of Russia and Belarus.
Hamas’ incursion into Israel was as unexpected as it was violent. But, it has once again highlighted the dichotomy between a democratic country’s right to exist and to defend itself, versus the plight of millions of dispossessed Palestinians.
The Hamas attack has prompted much debate about a perceived bias in reporting. The BBC which remains broadly neutral is, some claim, heavily pro-Palestinian. Or, even openly anti-Israeli. The broadcaster’s decision not to refer to Hamas fighters as terrorists is held up as evidence. But then, one person’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist.
Inevitably, the truth may have already become a casualty in this unending and unmendable tragedy.
In seeking a bit of lighthearted diversion from a world seemingly hell-bent on destroying itself, the truth once again becomes a casualty in two bits of gripping telly. The Reckoning is far from being lighthearted – but is most certainly diverting.
The show is a docu-dramatisation of Jimmy Savile’s life and crimes. Critics questioned whether it gave us any insight into the man – and whether it should have been made at all. To which they should perhaps be reminded of dramas made about Dennis Nilsen or Jeffery Dahmer.
Savile’s relationship with the truth – he simply didn’t know the meaning of the word – was ample insight. And, you won’t see a finer acting performance than Steve Coogan’s this year.
On only a slightly lighter note, Colleen Rooney’s documentary about her Wagatha Christie escapade got a few duff reviews claiming it was tediously detailed. This is to miss the point. If you really want to witness truth becoming a casualty, look no further than the self-obsessed, competitive, narcissistic cesspit that constitutes the world of celebs and the craven behaviour of the media.
Serial social media publisher, Wagatha Rooney, helpfully took us through some of the button settings she used on her personal Instagram to catch out arch rival and media snitch, Rebekah Vardy.
Some may argue that the only button she needed to have used was the one marked “off”.
However, they both might have heeded the words of Mark Twain, quoted by MP, Tom Tugendhat, who said resignedly in a radio interview this week that “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes”.
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