Terry Lenzner began his career as a lawyer but chose to walk away from partnership in his law firm and become a full-time investigator because of his “enthusiasm for the investigative operation.” In his book, The Investigator: Fifty Years of Uncovering the Truth, he said, “Good investigators…are objective. They never decide the results of an investigation before gathering the facts.” Beginning in the mid-1960s, the list of cases he was involved with as lawyer or investigator is a chronicle of late-twentieth-century American history (and beyond):
- Civil rights movement—Mississippi Burning case, Selma to Montgomery march
- Princess Diana’s death and conspiracy theories
- John Kerry Swift Boat ads
- Mitt Romney and Bain Capital
The last two chapters—“Reality for Sale” and “The Politics of Truth”—contend that, in many ways, the abundance of contradictory information available today has diminished respect for facts. Lenzner says, “There have been mudslinging and crazy rumors about America’s leaders since the founding of our republic. That isn’t new. What is new is that so many people don’t seem to care about facts anymore, or understand even that there is factual truth….[Now] the truth is what you can get enough people to believe…or it’s whatever the folks in charge wish it were.”
The opportunity of democracy—participation in the governing process—requires citizens to inform themselves of the truth. That truth is often provided by the “good instincts, sound judgment, and ‘good old-fashioned shoe leather’” of professional investigators like Terry Lenzner.