When I worked in corporate America, I heard a lot about perception vs. reality. I was taught that perception was more important than reality, and even that perception was reality. I have never been comfortable with this lesson. Certainly in our society perception is often more important than reality, but that doesn’t mean it should be.
Advances in media technology has given more power to more people to shape perceptions through video. From the time that George Holliday videotaped Rodney King being mistreated by police, we have seen an increase in the number of “sting” videos capturing the attention of the nation. Technology has made it now possible to fabricate such videos. This has made it even easier for people to use video to shape the perception of others in a misleading way.
James O’Keefe is the leading practitioner of creating media that skewers people and organizations that he doesn’t like. Time and again, his product has been found to be edited and manipulated to give a false impression. Yet, we are still eagerly digesting his product, and people are losing their jobs based on his bogus videos.
It is time for us to move away from a knee-jerk reaction to every bit of film or audio we hear. We need to be less quick to judge others. We need to wise up and not be so gullible.