How To Rarely Be Wrong

Are there certain buzz words, catch phrases, or tag lines that drive you nuts?

There’s been a word in the press that’s driven me crazy for a few years now. Recently it’s about all I can do not to turn off the radio or TV every time I hear it.

“Allege.”

Someone allegedly did this, or an alleged suspect did that. Heck, I’m pretty sure the alleged reporter covering the story didn’t even call to fact-check on the piece.

Everyone’s got a story but no ones willing to commit to anything for liability’s sake.

Heck, even our cereal boxes make boastful statements but always cover it up with contingencies and disclaimers. Like yesterday morning on a box of my favorite cereal: “May be proven to lower your cholesterol!*”

May be proven?

And the little * lead to small print on how the inconclusive tests relied on a myriad of strict dietary changes that had nothing really to do with cereal.

Those alive today are “alleged-out.” Because the majority of what’s reported is never confirmed at the time, truth is irrelevant. Trust is cashed in on the name of a good story.

Any good leader I’ve ever known has been honest. Truthful. Safe. And if they didn’t know it for sure, they never said it at all.

Both Matthew 5:37 and James 5:12 not only tell us as Christians to “let our yes be yes and our no be no,” but they go further to say we’re in sin if we don’t.

In sin.

Can you say gossip?

I wonder how many of us go up to the altar and repent of that on a needed basis?

If you want to earn the trust of those you’re leading, only open your mouth when you’re sure of what you’re about to say. That way you’ll never have to allege anything. Such behavior will actually endear you to those you’re leading. It’s bold, mature, and so refreshing.

Sure, your inside scoop may not be as juicy or as hot, but you’ll almost never be wrong. And being right is remembered a long time after being juicy gets old. ch:

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  • Beth

    There is a lot of truth in this post.
    It always bugs me that reporters never get the whole story. They don’t follow the story either. How many times to you see a report that a person was innocent after “alledegingly” being accused of a crime? Hardly ever. So the big gossipors trust what originally read & gives them
    Room to twist the story how they think it turned out. Yet, that alleged person has that conviction weather it’s true or not.
    I don’t claim to be perfect in this area, but I’m learning more & more it’s better to say nothing than get the facts wrong.
    Nice thought provoking post.

    • “…learning more & more it’s better to say nothing than get the facts wrong.”

      So true. Thanks Beth.

  • Tom Clegg

    In the military I learned a great phrase “I’ll neither confirm nor deny any knowlege of the afformentioned topic.” Which basically means, “Even if I did, know anything, I’m not telling”
    I believe, as a society, the legal system has beat us to death with threats of lawsuits for deffamation of character, should we accidentally misrepresent information about one thing or person. Even when someone is caught in the act of committing a haneous crime, they are considered suspects, to protect their rights, in case they have a good excuse for doing their dasterdly deed. Its hard to find someone who is willing to take responsibility for their alleged actions and suffer the consequences. Great discussion Christopher.
    Peace, Love, and Granolla, ~Tom

    • Thanks for adding some great clarity, Tom. And you’re right, the legal system has really heaped a lot of this on us. In fact, I’d love to be able to do a word search on the frequency of such terms and their increase over the last 60+ years of news reporting. I bet it would be astonishing. This is just one more reason why I favor Tort Reform, and believe we need it if our nation is to survive. I heard an interview recently with the creators of Home Depot; they said it’s impossible to ever create another Home Depot in 2011 (at the time) due to two primary reasons: 1) government regulations, and 2) trial lawyers.

  • Billy Jepma

    I agree 100%, I’ve always hated that word, being raised to let my, from my Mom’s words, “yeahs be yeahs, and my nays be nays”. I hear that on a weekly basis, and as such have learned to speak facts, and not let ‘alleged’ information become a norm. Good post, my Mom would love this. πŸ™‚

  • Susie Cook

    Dang this is a good post. I really have nothing to add. I just wanted to let you know! πŸ™‚

  • And it starts with showing truthful speaking to our progeny. Living it, not just telling it. And they’ll call you on it. Just tonight after I told my kids they couldn’t have hot chocolate, Laila said, “Dad, earlier today you said we could, and you always say that your ‘yes’ means ‘yes.'”

    To which I replied, “I’ll grab the marshmallows.”

  • Alassiel

    Actually, the use of the word ‘alleged’ when talking about crimes is probably a good thing. It’s part of the American belief that a person is innocent until proven guilty. If a person is accused of a crime, but hasn’t had a trial yet, I think it would be correct to say they allegedly committed a crime. It reminds us that we don’t have all the facts yet, and that’s just a part of reporting news. I mean, who wants to wait until after all the facts are available to hear a story?

    • Alassiel, thanks for the insight, and emphasis on one of our more awesome laws. And realistically you’re right, we’ll never be in an era where we hear the story after te facts are solidified. But it sure is a pain that no one can confirm anything when they report it.

  • Miriam Woodruff

    ch: Your dad preached a sermon back in the winter of 1998 & the just of it was… If you always tell the truth – you always know what you said. Full Stop!
    I always remembered that & use it regularly here @ WCSWM. It’s amazing how we have to teach Christians to tell the truth. The Media…. well that’s another story, and tooooooo long to tell. πŸ™
    We must just keep praying! πŸ™‚

    • “If you always tell the truth – you always know what you said.”

      ‘Nough said.