Life in the Box: Where Truth Lies



When 99% of scientists agree about global warming, with satellite pictures of the melting of the ice caps, with meteorological charts out the wazoo, how can some of my seemingly bright relatives and friends say global warming is a fake, or at very least non-man-made? I’ve actually heard adults say that 99% of scientists think global warming is false. Huh?

It’s a puzzle to me. There’s something going on with educated folks—it’s got to be more than just believing what they want to believe, doesn’t it? I asked a friend how to combat this kind of ignorance, and she said, “If you want to get the truth out, you have to know how the liars are convincing people of lies.”

So, I have started researching. Wiki How has a 14-step tutorial on how to lie. It’s pretty good. Start with becoming morally sure about the need for your lie. Then proceed to setting in the details of the untruth and learn to live as if it’s truth. For the rest of your life. Furthermore, get your body to go along with you—don’t talk differently than usual and be sure to give lots of strong eye contact when you’re telling your tale.


The Wiki tutorial is written for one-on-one lying, which would work for being interviewed, as well. So, these techniques could cover someone who’s being interviewed for television. How would an interviewer ever know about the lie if they don’t have background proof of anything else?

That’s so annoying. How could a viewer know, either? We depend on our interviewers and researchers behind the scenes to help us sort through truth and lies. Yet, they are supposed to be neutral listeners. I asked one of our executive producers this question once, “What do you do if you know someone you’re interviewing is lying?” He laughed and said, “You write in a line about how someone else (not you) has the opposite position.” That’s it? One person’s opinion against another’s? Then, reputation is the only factor in deciding the truth.

What if one person is more fluent, affluent, beautiful, or the same religion as the viewer? Does that person who is “one of us” get more trust than “one of them”? In that case, my relatives would believe only someone who is anti-liberal, anti-government, and pro-business. Also, the person who delivers a message can’t be the almost-President of the United States, former Vice President Al Gore. 

It seems like Americans have chosen sides. It’s not new. I’m old enough to remember Phyllis Schlafly’s anti-ERA and anti-gay rants (she has a law degree and career, plus a gay son.) I guess personal integrity isn’t one of her conservative values.

But, to be honest, I don’t want to pretend to be a conservative in order to appear to be an honest person. Integrity is important to me. So I end with the same problem with which I began: “How can an honest person convince people about true, factual, information?” I’m beginning to think that anyone with an important message needs to hire someone who appears to be a conservative to step up to the microphone. They’ll have to frame all facts as if they are anti-liberal and anti-government. How’s that for twisted?


Nancy Heather Brown is an Emmy Award-winning television producer whose career has included interviewing, writing, and editing for a span of four decades. Today, she uses gems from this treasure trove of life stories to add sparkle to her reflections on the creative process both inside and outside the box. 

How to lie