It ain’t necessarily so!

I work for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and last week the department announced the launch of our new Tax Academy. Among other things, some of our trainee staff will be able to gain a degree accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). I have been part of the HMRC team working with MMU on this project.

The same day, I saw two news reports about this on line – one on the Daily Telegraph site and one from the Manchester Evening News. Both of them had major factual inaccuracies. The Telegraph story for one thing had the institution wrong – Manchester University is not the same thing as Manchester Metropolitan University! (To be fair, I see that they have now put that one right, but the story still gives a very misleading impression.) The Manchester Evening News at least know the difference between their two local Universities, but again there are factual inaccuracies in their report. Other reports I found looking again today also contain inaccuracies.

Over the years, whenever I have seen press reports about something I have had personal involvement in, they have always been inaccurate in some respect. It’s not that the reports are biased – that’s another topic for another time – it’s just that they can’t get the facts right.

I wonder why I am so ready to assume the rest of the time that what I read in the papers must be true.


6 thoughts on “It ain’t necessarily so!

  1. Christine Johnson says:

    Just confirms what they say – never believe what you read in the papers!

  2. Hey Jude says:

    I approach the written word–apart from the Bible–as a medium where for the most part, writers glean documentation from the internet and deem it to be “credible.” Many don’t give it a second thought as to the possibility that their “facts” don’t lend credence to their posits. Each comes to their own conclusions based upon raw data and very little experience with a particular subject.

    Sometimes, just speed reading through an article gives you a different “take” on various components, than when one appreciates the differences presented, i.e. MMU and MU. It’s great that at least YOU know the facts πŸ™‚

  3. Margaret says:

    Oddly enough, the Belgian “Fiscus” has just set up the same idea – it was in this morning’s paper.
    Hey Jude – why “apart from the Bible”? Ok, it wasn’t gleaned from the Internet, but the rest still stands – it was set down to provide a “credible” basis for the writers’ views.

    • Hey Jude says:


      Yes, the Bible” was set down to provide a ‘credible’ basis for the writers’ views.” That was the point I was trying to make as far as replying to Ian’s remark, “I wonder why I am so ready to assume the rest of the time that what I read in the papers must be true.” I realize his topic was not religiously oriented, but that is what came to mind when I read it πŸ™‚

  4. ianw says:

    Hey Jude / Margaret

    My primary point, of course, was that the news is often unreliable. But it is probably sensible to take a questioning approach to anything we read. I assume that the writers of the books of the Bible wrote with an honest intent, whereas the writers of news stories may or may not have done so. (I also assume that the writers of these particular Telegraph and MEN stories intended to get the facts right, but they didn’t succeed.)

    But even with the Bible, it is right to ask questions about what we read. With the passage of centuries, has language changed its meaning so that we misunderstand what we read? Should we read a particular text as historical, allegorical, etc? The answers people give to these and many other questions will depend on their starting point – whether they view it from a standpoint of faith or unbelief, their prior assumptions and traditions about how to read the Bible, what kinds of meaning it can have, and so on.

    • Hey Jude says:

      Ian, I couldn’t agree with you more! I totally understood your primary point. I also concur that the lens through which one views any Biblical passage is colored by personal experience and belief vs. unbelief etc. etc. etc.

      I never meant to imply that I don’t question what I read in the Bible. Quite the opposite. Every time I open it and read a passage, something new pops into my mind and I find myself asking many questions pertaining to historical, allegorical, Messianic and other aspects associated with certain passages. I was referencing the total inspiration of the Bible by its many writers. 66 books written by at least 40+ authors should have created a very disjointed “book.” Instead, if one believes in the doctrine of inspiration which uses as its foundation the Greek word, “theopneustos” then we can safely presume that even though there are apparent conflicting passages, then we begin digging to determine interpretation versus application etc. Unlike news accounts, I take the Bible literally as God’s Word and treat it accordingly. “…ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32 KJV) I don’t have to worry about determining the veracity or falsehood because by knowing the “truth” I am skilled in knowing God’s will and learning something new to apply to my daily life to enhance my Christian walk with the Lord.

      Not wishing to deviate from your primary point, I like thinking about it in the context of going to a church which doesn’t necessarily promote or preach my core Christian values. If I have to sit through sermons refuting what is being taught, based upon what I have already believe, then I find it a lesson in futility. I find reading the US news media in the same light. Get the story right from the beginning and most of the “spin” associated with it will disappear.

      I’m not debating you. I agree πŸ™‚ This is fun though πŸ™‚

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