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是的,真相依然重要

更新时间:2017-12-20 10:22:51 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Yes, the Truth Still Matters
是的,真相依然重要

Of all the questions that the ascendancy of Donald Trump has raised — on the value of political experience in governing, on the fitness of business executives as government executives or the profile of the Republicans as defenders of the rich and the Democrats as the sentinels of the poor — none is as perplexing as perhaps the central question of the age:

唐纳德·特朗普的上台所引发的诸多问题——关于治理社会的政治经验的价值;企业管理者担任政府管理者的合理性;共和党维护富人、民主党捍卫穷人的一贯形象中——没有哪个问题比这个时代的核心问题更令人迷惑:

Does the truth still matter?

真相还重要吗?

It emerged again recently when reports surfaced that the president, who had previously acknowledged his presence on the “Access Hollywood” videotape, has suggested that he did not make the comments on the tape. He also resumed questioning whether Barack Obama was born in the United States — despite having said he accepted it as true last year. In a speech, Mr. Trump, contradicting almost every analysis of the tax bill, said the measure would hurt wealthy people, including himself.

这个问题最近再次浮现出来。总统之前曾承认在《走进好莱坞》(Access Hollywood)的录音中的确是他,但近日有报道称,他表示自己并没有就该录音发表过评论。他还重新开始质疑贝拉克·奥巴马是否出生于美国——尽管他去年已经表示接受这个事实。特朗普在一次演讲中表示,税收法案会伤害富人,包括他自己,尽管对该法案的几乎所有分析都得出了相反结论。

For nearly a half-century in journalism, from hometown cub reporter to national political correspondent to metro daily executive editor, I’ve navigated with the aid of a newspaperman’s North Star: the conviction that there is such a thing as objective truth that can be discovered and delivered through dispassionate hard work and passionate good faith, and that the product of that effort, if thoroughly documented, would be accepted as the truth.

从事新闻业近半个世纪以来,我从初出茅庐的家乡新闻记者,到全国政治记者,再到一家城市日报社的执行主编,指引我的是新闻记者眼中的北极星:坚信客观事实是存在的,并且可以通过冷静的艰苦工作和热情的善意来查明和传播,这种努力的成果如果得到详实记录,将被接受为事实。

Mr. Trump has turned that accepted truth on its head, sowing doubts about the veracity of news reporting by promoting the notion that the mainstream media spews “fake news.”

特朗普颠覆了这个被接受的事实,散布对新闻报道真实性的怀疑,宣扬主流媒体传播“假新闻”的观念。

Much of the Trump rhetoric on the press, to be sure, is less statecraft than stagecraft, designed to dismiss negative stories — as if the media had been never critical of past presidents instead of the equal-opportunity pugilists who bedeviled Bill Clinton (in the Monica Lewinsky episode) and George W. Bush (in the aftermath of the Iraq war).

可以肯定的是,特朗普的雄辩才能更多的是舞台表演才能,而非治国才能,旨在驳斥负面报道——好像媒体从来没有批评过之前的那些总统似的,而实际上,媒体是秉持机会均等主义的拳击手,曾经让比尔·克林顿(Bill Clinton,在莫妮卡·莱温斯基[Monica Lewinsky]事件中)和乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush,关于伊拉克战争的后果)头疼不已。

Even so, Mr. Trump can be credited with prompting, however inadvertently, the most profound period of press self-assessment in decades — and it comes at a period of unusual financial peril for the mainstream media. All around are sad affirmations of the diminishing credibility of the press, disheartening reminders that at least a third of the country, and perhaps more, regards our work as meaningless, biased or untruthful. In newsrooms, as at newsstands across the country, difficult but vital questions about the methods and motives of the press are being raised, forcing newsmongers and consumers of news to question long-held assumptions.

尽管如此,可以说特朗普无意中促使媒体进行了几十年来最深刻的自我评估,而此时,主流媒体正经受着最不寻常的财务危机。周遭全是令人伤心沮丧的消息:人们认为新闻的可信度在不断下降;美国至少有三分之一——甚至可能更多——的人认为,我们的工作毫无意义、存在偏见或与事实不符。在新闻编辑室以及美国各地的报刊亭,人们提出了一个难以回答而重要的问题,那就是新闻媒体的方法和动机,迫使新闻传播者和消费者去质疑一些长期认定的假设。

Earlier this year, Representative Tim Murphy, a Republican whose district includes the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh, told a closed-door fund-raiser in the tony Duquesne Club that our newspaper, the Post-Gazette, specialized in “fake news.” One of my sources called me while the session was underway, and when it ended, I telephoned the astonished Mr. Murphy and demanded an apology, which he granted only reluctantly. Eight months later our paper reported that the congressman, ardently anti-abortion, had sought to persuade his mistress to undergo the procedure. He later resigned under pressure.

今年早些时候,共和党众议员蒂姆·墨菲(Tim Murphy)在高档会所迪凯纳俱乐部(Duquesne Club)的一场闭门筹款会上表示,我们的报纸《消息邮报》(Post-Gazette)专门报道“假新闻”。墨菲的选区包括匹兹堡的南部郊区。在筹款会进行过程中,我的一名消息人士致电告诉我这个消息,筹款会结束后,我给深感意外的墨菲致电,要求他道歉,他不情愿地答应了。八个月后,我们的报纸报道称,这位强烈反对堕胎的国会议员曾努力说服他的情妇去做堕胎手术。他后来迫于压力辞职了。

This has become routine. The most prominent public-relations officer in Pittsburgh told us that a perfectly benign, and completely accurate, report on his institution’s activities was another example of fake news. Our police reporter repeatedly gets emails accusing her of producing fake news. Readers have called our high-tech writer charging she had produced fake news. I speak in the community all the time, and in the past year the question of whether The Post-Gazette is a purveyor of fake news never fails to come up. It’s almost always the first question.

这已经成了常态。匹兹堡最著名的公共关系官员对我们说,有一则关于他所属机构活动的报道——一则毫无恶意、完全准确的报道——是又一个假新闻案例。我们负责报道警察事务的记者不断地收到指责她制造假新闻的邮件。读者给我们的科技撰稿人致电,指责她制造假新闻。一直以来,我经常在社区里发表演讲,在过去的一年里,关于《消息邮报》是否是假新闻提供者的问题不断出现。而且几乎总是第一个提出的问题。

My answer: In the 15 years I have been executive editor, we have not knowingly published one story, or one paragraph, or one sentence, or one syllable that was not true.

我的回答是:在我担任执行主编的15年里,我们从来没有故意发表过一个不真实的故事,连一个做假的段落、句子或音节都没有。

It’s not that these questions never emerged before. It was possible to assemble established facts to argue, for example, that the 906 bills passed by Congress from 1947 to 1949 — including the Taft-Hartley Act and the major reorganization of the armed services and the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency — meant that Congress was productive in that period. But it also was possible to arrange the same facts, or to pick some facts and to omit others, to argue quite the opposite, as Harry Truman did in the 1948 presidential election when, in politically potent rhetoric, he spoke of the “do-nothing 80th Congress.”

此类问题并非从未出现过。比如,你可以根据既有的事实认为,美国国会在1947至1949年间通过的906个法案表明,那个时期的国会是富有成效的,包括《塔夫脱-哈特莱法案》(Taft-Hartley Act)、武装部队的重大重组,以及中央情报局(Central Intelligence Agency)的创立。但你也可以根据同样的事实,或者选择一些事实、忽略其他事实,做出相反的论述,正如哈里·杜鲁门(Harry Truman)在1948年的总统选举中所做的那样:他在政治演讲中,振振有词地提到“无所作为的第80届国会”。

During Watergate, Vice President Spiro Agnew spoke of “nattering nabobs of negativism” to attack the press that bit by bit was uncovering the truth of President Richard Nixon’s lies. This year we had Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, introducing the notion of “alternative facts.”

在水门事件期间,副总统斯皮罗·阿格纽(Spiro Agnew)指责媒体是“喋喋不休的否定主义巨头”,当时媒体正在一点一点地揭露理查德·尼克松总统的谎言。今年,总统的顾问凯莉安·康维(Kellyanne Conway)提出了“另类事实”(alternative facts)的说法。

Her phrase became an instant flash point, for almost no one seriously believed that provable facts had contradictory alternatives. There is no alternative to the fact that the sun is 93 million miles from the earth, nor to the fact that the earth’s atmosphere is 78 percent nitrogen, nor even to the fact that Mr. Trump’s Inauguration Day crowd was smaller than Mr. Obama’s.

她的话很快成了导火索,因为几乎没人真地认为,那些可以证明的事实存在相反的可能性。太阳距离地球9300万英里;地球大气层的氮含量是78%;参加特朗普就职典礼的人数比奥巴马的少——这些都不存在另类事实。

Though political figures often tell whoppers, it is incontrovertible that there is such a thing as the truth. The larger question remains: Do people still care?

虽然政治人物经常说大话,但真相是存在的——这一点无可争议。更大的问题依然是:人们还在乎真相吗?

They should, and need to. The human story is replete with examples of moments when the truth was traduced or when the truth was obscured: the disputed reports about how the battleship Maine was sunk in 1898; the trumped-up conspiracy surrounding the 1933 burning of the Reichstag that led to a brutal suspension of civil liberties shortly after the Nazis took power in Germany; the false contention that the U-2 reconnaissance plane flown by Francis Gary Powers in 1960 wasn’t engaged in espionage over the Soviet Union; the misleading claims about the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin episode that drew the United States deeper into Vietnam; the repeated obfuscations of the 1970s Watergate scandal; Bill Clinton’s 1998 denials of a relationship with Monica Lewinsky; and the false belief that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction in 2003.

他们应该在乎,也需要在乎。人类的故事充满真相被诋毁或掩盖的时刻:关于1898年“缅因号”战舰(Maine)如何沉没的有争议报道;纳粹在德国掌权后不久,围绕1933年德意志帝国国会大厦被焚事件捏造出来的阴谋,该事件导致德国粗暴地取消了公民自由;关于1960年弗朗西斯·加里·鲍尔斯(Francis Gary Powers)驾驶的U-2侦察机没有在苏联上空从事间谍活动的错误论点;关于1964年北部湾事件的误导性陈述,它导致美国进一步深陷越南;关于70年代水门丑闻的层层迷雾;1998年比尔·克林顿对与莫妮卡·莱温斯基关系的否认;以及2003年关于萨达姆·侯赛因(Saddam Hussein)拥有大规模杀伤性武器的错误观念。

The president’s taunts have prompted long-overdue if uncomfortable and unwelcome reflection in our newsroom and others. But it has also prompted all of us to be more humble, more careful and more dedicated than ever to the basic elements of our craft: to marshal facts, produce stories and pay little mind to criticism, whether from left or right.

在我们的新闻编辑室以及其他地方,总统的嘲讽引发了一场不愉快、不受欢迎但早应该进行的反思。但它也促使我们所有人比以往任何时候都更谦卑、更谨慎,更专注于我们的技艺的基本要素:整理事实,写出故事,不介意批评,无论是来自左派的还是右派的。

To show, by our work, that the truth still matters.

并通过我们的工作表明:真相依然重要。

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