George Graham

We Have to Take “the News” with a Grain of Salt

Libya’s news is not like your news. The state has total control over the media in Libya. Here is David D. Kirkpatrick of The New York Times News Service, reporting from Tripoli:

Sunday was just another day spent through the looking glass of the oil-financed and omnipresent cult of personality that Qaddafi has spent 41 years building in Libya. Few of the claims by the Libyan state media lined up with the facts — there was no decisive victory by his forces — and the heavy firing in Tripoli on Sunday morning was never persuasively explained.

But accuracy and logic have never been the tenets of Colonel Qaddafi’s governing philosophy, and their absence is especially conspicuous now, as rebels pose the greatest challenge to his four decades of enigmatic rule.

Not a day passes in Tripoli without some improbable claim by Colonel Qaddafi or the top officials around him: there are no rebels or protesters in Libya; the people who are demonstrating have been drugged by Al Qaeda; no shots have been fired to suppress dissent. In an interview broadcast on Monday with the France 24 , Col. Qaddafi called his country a partner of the West in combating Al Qaeda, insisting that loyalist forces were confronting “small groupings” and “sleeper cells” of terrorists.

Click here to read the report.

The news you get is closer to reality because you live in a country that enjoys the luxury of a free press.

But that doesn’t mean you can believe everything you hear.

The news today is often loaded with “spin” – especially when it comes to politics. And sometimes what you hear is a deliberate lie. Reporters repeat what they are told, and their sources are not always trustworthy. I’m sure you’ve noticed, too, that often when spokespersons for different political parties are interviewed on TV it’s not just their opinions that are different, it’s their facts.

You have to take everything you hear these days with a grain or two of salt. Even if you don’t live in Libya.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for