"Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts” is credited to American financier Bernard M. Baruch (1870-1965), who said it in 1946. James R. Schlesinger, United States Secretary of Defense from 1973 to 1975, is credited with saying: “Each of us is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003), United States Senator from New York from 1976 to 2000, is also often credited with saying: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
The sayings mean that opinions can differ, but that those opinions must be based on factual truths.
Wikipedia: Bernard Baruch
Bernard Mannes Baruch (pronounced /bəˈruːk/; August 18, 1870 – June 20, 1965) was an American financier, stock-market speculator, statesman, and political consultant. After his success in business, he devoted his time toward advising Democratic U.S. Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt on economic matters.
Wikipedia: James R. Schlesinger
James Rodney Schlesinger (born February 15, 1929) was United States Secretary of Defense from 1973 to 1975 under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He became America’s first Secretary of Energy under Jimmy Carter.
While Secretary of Defense, he opposed amnesty for draft dodgers, and pressed for development of more sophisticated nuclear weapon systems. Additionally, his support for the A-10 and the lightweight fighter program (later the F-16) helped ensure that they were carried to completion.
Wikipedia: Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Daniel Patrick “Pat” Moynihan (March 16, 1927 – March 26, 2003) was an American politician and sociologist. A member of the Democratic Party, he was first elected to the United States Senate for New York in 1976, and was re-elected three times (in 1982, 1988, and 1994). He declined to run for re-election in 2000. Prior to his years in the Senate, Moynihan was the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations and to India, and was a member of four successive presidential administrations, beginning with the administration of John F. Kennedy, and continuing through Gerald Ford.
Google News Archive
9 October 1946, Toledo (OH) Blade, “Lie Hints He May Enter Atomic Control Dispute; U.N. Leader Indicates Action At Gathering Honoring Baruch; U.S. Delegate Defends Plan,” pg. 2, col. 3:
Mr. Baruch did not mention Mr. Wallace by name. However, there was no question to whom he was referring when he said:
“On the question of principles, it is an inalienable right each of us has to express opinions on every policy animating this country, whether national or international. That is the highest function of those who live under a political democracy; of those who cherish the right of free speech. Every man has the right to an opinion but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts. Nor, above all, to persist in errors as to facts.”
25 October 1946, Rhinelander (WI) Daily News, pg. 8, col. 3:
Every man has a right to an opinion but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.—Bernard M. Baruch.
Google News Archive
21 April 1947, Youngstown (OH) Vindicator, pg. 8, col. 4:
Bernard Baruch, American member of the UN Atomic Commission: “Every man has a right to an opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”
6 January 1950, Deming (NM) Headlight, “Your State Government” by Thomas J. Mabry, Governor, Pg. 4, col. 1:
“Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”
-- Bernard M. Baruch
9 April 1953, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “Looking at Hollywood” by Hedda Hopper, pg. C7:
One of Bernard M. Baruch’s favorite sayings, and mine, too: “Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”
Google News Archive
12 January 1955, Toledo (OH) Blade, peach section, pg. 1, col. 3:
It was Bernard Baruch who observed, “Every man has a right to his own opinion but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”
22 January 1955, Titusville (PA) Herald, “The Great Game of Politics” by Frank R. Kent, pg. 4, col. 2:
Is Baruch Just Foolish?
WASHINGTON, Jan. 21.
The present Democratic strategy is in conflict with one of the soundest statements of the party’s oldest, most regular, most generous and distinguished member—Bernard M. Baruch. A good many years ago, Mr. Baruch, in a speech before the War College in Washington, made a comment that has been widely printed, often quoted and never disputed. “Every man,” said Mr. Baruch, “has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”
Google News Archive
8 August 1965, Ocala Star-Banner, “History By Schlesinger” (Arthur J. Schlesinger, Jr.—ed.) by Henry J. Taylor, pg. 4, col. 2:
At some point, facts also claim a place. Said Bernard M. Baruch: “Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”
Air University Review
By Air University (U.S.), United States. Dept. of the Air Force
v. 29 - 1977
As former Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger has said, “Each of us is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
Doctrine, practice, prospects : a reappraisal of the fairness doctrine and equal time rule
By Ford Rowan
New York, NY: Longman
It has been said that everyone is entitled to one’s own opinion, but not one’s own facts.
15 September 1984, New York (NY) Times, “Arms Curb Facts Made in U.S.S.R.,” pg. 22:
To paraphrase James Schlesinger every man is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts.
BERNARD F. HALLORAN
Special Assistant, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
Alexandria, Va., Aug. 28, 1984
Came the Revolution:
Argument in the Reagan era
By Daniel P. Moynihan
San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Alan Greenspan, who chaired the commission, adopted a simple rule: Each member was entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.
25 April 1989, New York (NY) Times, “States Circle Their Wagons for the Money Wars” by kenneth R. Weiss, pg. A24:
‘Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts,” said Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Democrat of New York.
14 November 1991, Milwaukee (WI) Journal-Sentinel, “A campaign built on incendiary falsehoods”:
FORMER Defense Secretary James Schlesinger used to say, “Each of us is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
American Economic Policy in the 1980s
Edited by Martin Feldstein
Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press
As Senator Pat Moynihan of the Finance Committee puts it, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts” (Birnbaum and Murray 1987, 275).
The Audacity of Hope:
Yhoughts on reclaiming the American dream
By Barack Obama
New York, NY: Crown Publishers
There’s a wonderful, perhaps apocryphal story that people tell about Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the brilliant, prickly, and iconoclastic late senator from New York. Apparently, Moynihan was in a heated argument with one of his colleagues over an issue, and the other senator, sensing he was on the losing side of the argument, blurted out: “Well, you may disagree with me, Pat, but I’m entitled to my own opinion.” To which Moynihan frostily replied, “You are entitled to your own opnion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”
Public Editor #1:
The collected columns (with reflections, reconsiderations, and even a few retractions) of the first ombudsman of The New York Times
By Daniel Okrent
New York, NY: Public Affairs
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who would have made an excellent editorial page editor if he could have put up with the meetings, once said that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
The thing that most upset me while I was reporting the columnist piece? Discovering that the admirable Web site factcheck.org, sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, uses the Moynihan quote as a motto—but renders it as “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.” (My italics.) This could use some fact-checking. Brooks Jackson of the Annenberg Center assures me that his version of the quotation comes from the cover of the program for Moynihan’s memorial service. Still, I think it’s highly unlikely that Moynihan would ever have used the gender-neutral but grammatically egregious “their” in place of “his.”
New York City • Government/Law/Politics • (0) Comments • Thursday, July 30, 2009 • Permalink