What is truth? Whose version of a story is the ultimate authority on what really happened? As Maynard “Sam” George and his family (as well as anyone else who has followed the Ipperwash inquiry) can tell you, there are more than two sides to every story, and therefore the truth can be hard to find.
In the case of the 1995 shooting death of Sam’s brother, Anthony “Dudley” George, there were scores of different stories on what really happened that night and why. Imagine being inquiry commissioner Sidney Linden, whose job it was to sort out the truth.
The only truth in journalism is that everyone has a different perspective. Can there ever be two identical stories from any event? I doubt it, if only because no two people are standing at precisely the same place at the same time. That’s why journalists can never really tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They tell you stories, and hope that it is very close to what really happened. Even photographs are unable to tell the whole truth, but they’re harder to fudge.
One interesting aspect of the Ipperwash inquiry is the fact that a lot of politicians came out and tried to tell their version of the truth, and some of them seemed very honest. But when two people disagree on what happened and they were both there, whom do you believe?
There is one fact that came out of the Ipperwash inquiry, and Sam George makes a good point about it. The one thing everyone can agree on is that Dudley George died September 6, 1995. That’s the truth. And a journalist’s job is to find the most credible source for a story that aims to explain the truth. Read Sam’s story, and remember it’s one man’s perspective, but that of a man who spent 12 years looking for the truth and seems pretty satisfied that it has been found.
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