Trust, But Verify

Jussie Smollett

(Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The disturbing saga of TV actor Jussie Smollett and his story of hate crime assault that now seems to be unraveling is a reminder of an old Russian proverb that President Reagan used to quote back to the Russians during arms treaty talks: “trust, but verify.”

Consider how timely — or maybe we should say “timeless” — that phrase is.

It’s always been a good idea to be skeptical of anything a politician says, never more so than now.

Faith in the honesty of organized religion has suffered lately.

There are financial institutions that sign you up for services you never ordered, and service providers who bill you for services you never used.

And straight-up incredulity should be the default reaction to anything you read online, unless it’s from a news organization with a well-established track record of at least trying to tell the truth.

I would hope that any Bostonian who reflexively bought Smollett’s story was not old enough to remember the 1989 case of Charles Stuart, the local furrier who murdered his wife and tried to blame it on an innocent black man.

Since then, I always want to see hard facts before jumping to a conclusion about stories like this.

But in the era of hyper-dishonesty and a rush to virtue signal, too many people — even the president — jumped to affirm Smollett’s story.

Verifying stuff takes time and effort, two things we just don’t seem to have the stomach for anymore.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio. 

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Keller @ Large

Keller @ Large

Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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