1. The offense of willfully telling an untruth in a court after having taken an oath or affirmation.
Do you know what they do with your testimony when you commit perjury? They throw it ALL out. Not just the portion where you lied, but ALL your testimony.
As a speaker and broadcaster, the only thing I can really offer my audience is fair and honest reporting or storytelling. If that is ever sacrificed, I would be done on the air and on stage.
I’m sure there are many fine stories in publication and broadcast outlets. (Personal aside: I’m done with the New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, and many other print and broadcast outlets). But their performance of late has confirmed that they are not giving me a straightforward story. Therefore, I cannot take what they deliver at face value. They have raised doubt over everything they do, so I throw it all away.
Now, I know that you probably don’t care about my reading habits. But what I do want you to care about is your personal integrity.
If you decide to not be truthful about your dealings, you may never know how much credibility you will lose in the marketplace. Nor will you ever know how much business you have lost or will lose in the future because you are not trustworthy.
Dishonesty in media isn’t just reserved for the political scene and it isn’t just reserved for out-and-out false reporting. ESPN has just reported that the team radio announcer for Wake Forest University has “provided or attempted to provide confidential game preparations to opponents.” As Trevor Matich, ESPN College Football Analyst, is quoted saying: “This is a profound betrayal.” This is not just the betrayal of one man against one team; this is a betrayal that will affect his family, the players, the University, the sport, the media and, ultimately, all of us who live in a world where dishonesty runs so rampant.
I’m sure the Times and the Post and NBC couldn’t care less that I no longer consume their product.
But I do want to encourage you to care. Not about me! But about your character and reputation.
You might never know how many people you turn off by not dealing fairly and truthfully in your communication work. In my business, it’s a tough job to become credible. It takes years of building trust. And it can all disappear in seconds if you are found guilty of professional perjury.
Something to think about.