by Dwayne Phillips
These inconvenient facts seem to be everywhere. They are inconvenient, however, only when we have a story to tell that denies reality.
There are some old sayings like, “opinions being mugged by facts,” and “don’t confuse my opinion with facts,” and “there is nothing like facts getting in the way of my opinion,” and such silly things.
Years ago, a famous politician made a non-fiction movie in which computer-generated fictional scenes were presented as non-fiction actual scenes of nature. After awards were presented, the facts came to the surface. There was this famous newspaper that won a major award with a non-fiction story. Later, however, the facts surfaced that it was all made up, i.e., the inconvenient facts came to light. One major newsroom showed a factual government document that was several decades old. It took about an hour for the facts to show that the old government document used brand new fonts that didn’t agree with the date on the document. Ouch. Why?
Much closer to home, I recently attended a user engagement meeting that was hailed as a great success. The inconvenient facts, however, were that zero users attended the meeting. The user engagement engaged no users because the users were not engaged in the product one little bit. Ouch. The facts didn’t meet the story that was told.
We can all do better. Let’s have our facts and state them in our story. Facts are inconvenient only when we ignore them and someone else brings them to light afterwards. It doesn’t have to be that way. Otherwise, facts are facts. Write a story that agrees with the facts.