“Never write anything that you wouldn’t want to end up on the front page of The New York Times.” That was the advice that my father and most important professional mentors gave me a long time ago.
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Quasi-facetiousness aside, the statement in question was usually followed by, “Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want to end up there, either, but definitely don’t write anything.”
The reason behind their statements of course was that anything written could be found and used against you at a later date. Verbal accounts, however, are another matter and will most likely result in a he said, she said disagreement.
That, friends, is starting to change. Earlier this month Google CEO Eric Schmidt warned that within 5 years,politician speeches could be checked for accuracy instantly over the internet.
Imagine that – you’re sitting at home watching a debate. Politician A says he never voted for baby pirate clubbing. You head to the internet and type in “Politician A voted against baby pirate clubbing true or false.” A link pops up instantly that informs you Politician A voted for H.R.9038-q, which recommended the severe beating of the children of sea pirates for public entertainment. Busted.
I was outraged listening to a National Public Radio story last week that covered a controversial ad campaign in Tennessee. A Chattanooga station refused to air a replacement commercial until it finished its due diligence fact checking.
One interviewee noted that the two sides disagreed about a politician’s voting record on a specific issue saying that it would be up to the public to decide who was right and who was wrong. Really?!?! What a fool I am thinking that fact was fact and not up to debate. Soon it will be easier than ever to separate fact and fiction.
This easy-verification will probably start with politicians, but do you really think it will end there? The moral of the story is to act like your mother taught you and assume that all inbound and outbound calls to your business are recorded and fact-checked. And if you’re a higher-up, it’s your responsibility to set monitoring procedures and standards in place for everyone – C-levels, sales people, client service departments – everyone.
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