There was a time, not that long ago, that if someone’s reputation were damaged by some accusation(s), later fidcovered to be false, the person would be able to return to their normal life – maybe not immediately, but after a short period once the truth became known. Today? Not so. much. Even in the “olden days” I’m referring to (maybe 20 years ago), there would have always been detravtors of that person that no matter what, believed the allegation(s). There have always been those people that no matter the evidence presented, will not change their mind. But that was okay, because those same people really had no way of continuing their persecution. How times have changed.
Today, most people have some level of online presence, whether it’s one of the many social media platforms, email, or online shopping. Everything any of us do today, online, is there forever. We can make a stupid tweet, then realize we might want to delete it and do so; it’s never really gone and anyone with just a modicum of experience using the platform, the net itself, with some effort, will be able to find it. We’ve seen in the last few years the punishment some people have received for inappropriate tweets. Maybe something written that was done in some sense of trying to be funny. Not so much anymore.
But what happens when some incident in your life becomes a national, even international news item? When, over the course of time, it’s discovered that maybe the initial reporting was deficient and that instead of you being someone that everyone loves to hate, that suddenly it’s known that you are in fact, not the person described online, in newspapers, or on television? Do these same people come back and say “sorry, we were wrong”? Of course they don’t. In fact, any retractions are never on the front page of any publication or the Top News Story of the evening on television. So there will still be people that know about the original problem that will continue to believe you are guilty of whatever the crime against humanity was, even though there’s no “there there”. And of course, even those that do know that you’ve been completely exonerated, some will never believe that to be the truth.
In other words, no one can completely escape the lie. For some, even filing and winning a defamation suit against those that destroyed their reputation, will only cement for them that the guilt they originally believed, is true.
When any of us first hear of some indiscretion of some other person , whether we know this person or not, it may be useful to stop, take a moment, and wait until all the facts become evident before taking one side or the other. Of course, in some cases, we never see any other side other than that fed to us in the media. Is there some sort of bias there or an agenda? That’s when we can do the other thing: do our own investigation and follow the trail as best we can. At that point, we may come to an opinion based on the facts we were able to discover that differ significantly from what we’ve been told.