Pat's View: Applying the journalistic standard
By Patrick Robinson
Everybody lives with stories in their head.
Some you tell yourself, some you learn from others.
And those stories, become your beliefs.
Human beings in general prefer to be comfortable and that means avoiding challenging your own beliefs.
Over time it makes you retreat into the silo of your opinions and reject anything that does not comport with your worldview.
So that’s where we find ourselves.
It’s in part, why the truth no longer matters.
Everyone’s own view is just as valid, just as accurate, just as worthy as anyone else.
Except that’s complete bullshit.
When we let individuals seeking power tell us stories or influence our beliefs, without immediately questioning
them based on their motives, we not only fail intellectually. We fail this nation. When we let a comment made by someone with no known identity, or credentials influence our beliefs in any way we fail ourselves.
The way journalism is supposed to work is a pretty good model for what to trust.
Some aspects of information (such as news or even a simple statement of facts) are more important than others.
That means you gather information and get it confirmed by at least two known, credible sources. Then you present it in what is called an “inverted pyramid” with the headline and most important facts first. The rest follow in descending order of importance. Obviously that sequence can vary, but the goal is to make it as unbiased as you can.
Because we give equal weight to all information we now question entire news organizations, assigning motive and intent to every decision. Everything is in the scroll. It’s now largely up to the reader to decide what is important. Whose bias is at work then?
There have been attempts to rate news outlets as to their political leaning that are more or less accurate. But most people don’t cross the divide. It’s easier to retreat into the comfortable silo of what we already believe.
What you carry around as your foundational belief about yourself, others, your community, city, nation and world is formed by the information you feed your mind.
So here’s the question. If you apply that journalistic standard, two confirmed, credible sources, and you look at candidates, issues and logic…what are you willing to overlook?
How much chaos, confusion, misinformation, and outright lying are you willing to live with?
Now the last question. If you had a friend or partner who constantly complained, played the victim in every conversation, verbally attacked people, lied to you, misled you and had a string of lawsuits and charges against them, how much time would you want to spend with them?
At some point the stories you hear have weight but apply the journalistic standard and then decide. Don’t decide in advance and find information that only makes you feel good.