Errol Morris recently gave the commencement address at the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism; here’s the transcript.
It has become fashionable nowadays to speak of the subjectivity or the relativity of truth. I find such talk ridiculous at best. Let’s go back to Randall Dale Adams. He found himself within days of being executed in “Old Sparky,” the electric chair in Walls Unit, Huntsville Texas.
There is nothing post-modern about the electric chair. It takes a living human being and turns him into a piece of meat. Imagine you — you the young journalists of tomorrow — being strapped into an electric chair for a crime you didn’t commit. Would you take comfort from a witness telling you that it really doesn’t make any difference whether you are guilty or innocent? That there is no truth? “I think you’re guilty; you think you’re innocent. Can’t we work it all out?”