Hello out there. I haven’t written much lately, and I will admit it is because the news has been overwhelming.
You have probably noticed that countless people are upset. And rightly so. One reaction is that the public seems to be more interested in the news.
What you may not have noticed is that much of the news that is being reported is actually opinion. Sometimes a news anchor offers a news report that includes what happened and the story behind the news. That is excellent reporting. Sometimes, the reporter adds personal opinion at the end of the story. That is also acceptable reporting. However, much of the time, an opinion is offered with an assumption that the listener should accept it as valid (that is, truth) without any corroboration. As someone who regularly offers opinions in writing (and verbally), I have no problems with people giving an opinion as long as they can offer something to back up that viewpoint.
It has become immensely difficult to separate so-called fake news from real news. Why? Because newscasts rarely offer listeners evidence.
Again, opinion is fine if it is titled that way. But opinion is not news.
Let’s be clear on this: opinion is opinion. Opinion is a judgment. It can be based on the facts. In which case, it is important. It can be based on research; again that makes it more valid. However, it is not enough to say, for example, I am a [insert political party here] and that person is a member of the same party, and so that person is a good person.
Nope, that does not really work. That is like saying all men are mean. Or, every plant on earth can be eaten. Neither of those is a true statement.
I know it is difficult to do your own research on news reports. After all, that is why we watch or read the newscasts. Nowadays when very few media sources are without bias, realize that many newscasts use specific phrases in an attempt to trigger your emotions — which makes it difficult to think clearly.
There are a few things you can do.
- Learn about logical fallacies and use what you learn to analyze news reporting.
- Pay attention to whether or not the news show is listed as opinion, reporting, or entertainment. Yes, most news shows on TV are truly part of the entertainment division of the network.
- Most importantly, look for the facts in the article, video, or report. Do they offer evidence?
- Assumptions lead to errors. It is easy to accept the opinion given in the report, especially when it involves religion, patriotism or politics. Try to be objective long enough to find the truth in the situation.
Until next time, don’t believe a lie just because it is repeated.