Out in Front: The Daughter of Time

July 1, 2011  - By

“Truth,” wrote Sir Francis Bacon, “is the daughter of time.”

He meant that any account, repeated often enough by different people in different places, at different junctures, eventually becomes accepted as historical fact, or truth, by those with no direct knowledge of the matter.

That’s why it is so important to repudiate and expose lies at every encounter. Never, ever let one pass. Even when it’s the same one that you dispelled yesterday — or thought you had taken care of. One thing about liars, they keep coming back. They don’t give up.

Would you give up, if you had $20 billion at stake?

I wrote an online column on this topic recently: “LightSquared, FCC Rebuttals Distort Record.” These distortions were so blandly crafted that they were picked up and passed on by a number of other parties who should have known better, including at least one colleague of the press who writes for a wireless industry publication.

Come to think of it, you do have $20 billion at stake — and much more. We all do. To the tune of more than $67.6 billion in direct economic benefits in the United States alone, provided by GPS. Or $96 billion per year in direct economic costs should GPS be disrupted. See the System news in this issue, “The Economics of Disruption,” for what you stand to lose.

If you think the recent amendment to the 2012 Budget, cutting off FCC funds in this matter, should settle LightSquared hash, think again. The company is back with a new solution. Same as the old solution. Just with the pieces moved around. And it has taken its game up a notch, signaling intent to apply to the International Telecommunication Union for authority to broadcast powerful terrestrial signals all over the world.

All over the world. Calculate the costs of that. For our international readers, this may mean trouble for GLONASS and Galileo too.

Written to your congresspeople about this? Bravo if you have. Write again. They are not tired of hearing from you. There’s a lot they don’t know, that you do, particularly if you read the news accounts here and online. Forward links freely; they are information-laden and they are there for you to use.

Not written to anyone yet? The headline of this column also served as the title of a novel by Josephine Tey, concerning Richard III, King of England. You know the evil hunchback murderer of Shakespeare’s play? We recall him as such because someone (his rival Henry VII) was particularly adept at lying and getting others, including Shakespeare, to repeat the lie — with none to dispute.

GPS could become a forgotten hunchback of history. Act now.

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