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“Check the facts” is a piece of advice that fits a lot of situations. Early in my teaching career I learned to check the facts when a student, in college as well as in the grades, told me thus or so was happening. Early in my administrative career I learned again: check the facts before making an administrative decision or before going public with information given to me.

“Check the facts” is also good advice for much of the American public who do not read. And it’s a doubly worthy insight for those who merely glance at titles.

I’ve posted many blogs on my website and later to Facebook, and I’ve written a lot of columns and articles, printed and/or posted later for public access. On several occasions I’ve experienced negative response, which is to say criticism, about what people think I said. In other words, they quickly read the title, misinterpreted it or otherwise made assumptions, and then let ‘er rip. But their criticism made it clear they’d never read my actual content. They’d never checked the facts.

“Check the facts” is an especially important M.O. if you think you must critique or correct another person. Even more it’s critical if you intend to impugn their character. Better be careful. Check the facts.

We’re glad for a legal system built upon the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” We’re even more grateful if we’re the one accused. Why? Because if indeed we are innocent, we most certainly want authorities to take time to check the facts.

Remember ol’ Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb) on the black and white TV program called “Dragnet”? “All we want are the facts, Ma’am.”

Check the facts. You’ll be better off no matter what you do next.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

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