BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the day

© John Denney 2 April 2003

 

It’s difficult to avoid basing a topical Thought for the Day on the campaign in Iraq.  The situation there is a serious one, and full of difficult issues that have been chewed over endlessly by pundit after pundit.  Some of the armchair pundits are better than others.  For certain, some of the broadcast journalists out in Iraq and surrounding countries have done a good job in reporting on the conflict.  Some others, sadly, demonstrate in their naïvety and ignorance that they were selected for being telegenic rather than probing, authoritative and knowledgeable.

 

With the newspapers and the radio and the television justifiably dominated by stories of the events in Iraq, I was cheered up to find that there was still room here and there for small April Fool hoaxes.  I liked the suggestion that the Post Office was trying to secure various niche markets by selling circular stamps with holes in them for feng shui enthusiasts, and even stamps with the Queen’s head removed, to appeal to Republicans.  I am not sure whether the story on the BBC Technology news site is true or not.  They said that a virus had been launched on the World Wide Web, the effect of which is to replace the clothing on photos of human beings with a simulation of the naked body.

 

I guess April Fools hoaxes prove that you certainly can fool some of the people some of the time.  Something more profound, though, is that what we believe counts for less than who tells us about it.  In short, is the source of our information to be trusted?  The shock of the Panorama Spaghetti tree hoax in the 1950s was because a) it was on the BBC and b) it was fronted by the most trusted broadcaster of his day, Richard Dimbleby.  It was a harmless deception, but the fact that we still talk about it nearly 50 years later shows just how flabbergasted the country was.

 

“Who tells us” is why over a third of the world’s population believes the teaching and example of a man who walked the earth 2000 years ago.  Two billion people model their lives on that of Jesus, who called himself, among other things, “the truth”.  The truth.  Christians believe and trust Jesus.

 

The question is: whom do you trust?  The media?  Politicians?  Your family?  Your friends?  … And who trusts you?

 

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