Right now we’re all trying to decide who to believe and what information to trust. Wildly inaccurate rumors crop up all over social media, while the mainstream media news about the coronavirus keeps changing.
Considering our current situation, having a reliable source of information is pretty damn important.
And on numerous occasions I have stated in written or cartoon form that I don’t find Donald Trump a reliable source of information.
Because I said that out loud several people have unsubscribed to this blog and one of them got on Facebook and called me disgusting and depraved which is kinda unfair considering I never went on a single date with that dude.
There might be some women from my past who could make that accusation, but how would he know?
On the other hand, I’ve also had more people sign up for the blog and say nice things about me so I should probably stay away from them before they find out the Facebook dude might have a point.
I recently provided a couple links to CNN stories and a couple people complained about them as a news source. I assume the same thing would happen if I referred people to Fox News, the Washington Post or the Dalai Lama.
So in these times of fake news and misinformation, who should you trust?
I’ve got a few thoughts of my own and if you find those helpful feel free to adopt them and if you don’t find them helpful you can always complain about me on Facebook.
And away we go.
All news has some bias
Most of us say we want our news delivered without bias and it’s a good thing we don’t really mean it because being unbiased is harder than you think. The most even-handed reporter in the world shows bias by what stories he or she decides to write, what people they decide to talk to and what quotes they decide to use.
Being totally unbiased might be impossible, but you want a reporter to at least give it a try.
If a reporter or news channel goes into every story with the preconceived notion that a certain president is always right or always wrong, that’s going to affect the accuracy of the news you hear.
And by that standard both CNN and Fox News have their problems.
When you hear Donald Trump is the savior of all mankind or he’s a blithering idiot – and I’m really not sure why idiots blither, but they do – consider the source and that includes me and my cartoons.
But I will say this for myself:
I might have voted for the guy, but if a Democratic president is going to get BJs from an intern I’m going to draw about it and did. I used to say I didn’t draw about Republicans or Democrats; I drew about screw-ups and those can come from either party.
You can also be too fair
Talking to people on both sides of an issue is a pretty good idea, but when one person has spent a lifetime studying evolutionary biology and the other person brings a King James Version Bible and a rattlesnake to church, maybe their views on evolution shouldn’t be given equal time or value.
Sometimes news organizations feel like they’ve done a good job because they covered both sides, but fail to point out that one side is well-educated on the subject and the other side wears tinfoil hats.
Do they ever admit to making a mistake?
One of the thing newspapers have going for them are the “corrections.” Admitting you made a mistake isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. Admitting you made a lot of mistakes is a sign maybe you’re not cut out to be in the news business.
One of the many problems I have with Donald Trump is his inability to ever admit making a mistake.
On the other hand, I don’t hear Nancy Pelosi offering a lot of mea culpas either. So maybe it’s all politicians who can’t admit mistakes, which is pretty good reason not to trust any of them too far and I question the sanity of anybody who gets overly enthusiastic about Donald Trump or Joe Biden.
They’re politicians, people.
Do they ever admit the other side has a point?
If someone puts a gun to my head and makes me choose a political philosophy I’d probably say “liberal” and then suggest we smoke a joint and mellow out to some Grateful Dead while sitting on my couch made of hemp.
(Actually, all that’s bullshit. In reality I’d suggest a shot and a beer and listening to the Kinks play “You Really Got Me” with the volume turned up to 11 while sitting on a bar stool. Sounds pretty awesome right now, don’t it?)
But my point before I got sidetracked is that most of us – and that certainly includes me – aren’t all one thing. I tend to be liberal, but agree with conservatives on some issues. When I was out in California I read about the move to have genderless IDs which struck me as political correctness carried out to a moronic degree.
Anyone who can’t admit their side does some stupid stuff and the other side occasionally has a good point, bothers me. Extremism from either side has led to a boatload of problems.
Do they ever laugh at themselves?
There are some people who think saying nasty stuff about the other side is having a sense of humor, but their fabulous sense of humor is never aimed at anyone on their side or themselves.
People with a real sense of humor can’t turn it off; it’s working 24/7. Look at the best stand-up comedians and they make fun of themselves, their friends and their family – absolutely nobody gets a pass.
Beware of people who take themselves too seriously.
Back when Jon Stewart hosted The Daily Show he was pretty much required viewing because he’d make fun of conservatives, liberals and on numerous occasions, himself.
The problem with our own personal news bubble
Back before the news media fractured into a thousand pieces a lot of people got their news from newspapers or one of the three major networks.
Whether your town’s newspaper was liberal or conservative (and, yes, there are conservatives newspapers and I briefly worked for two of them) newspapers were a shared commodity and liberals and conservatives alike had a common source of information.
These days you can tune to the right news channel and look at the right websites and never hear any news that contradicts what you already believe.
Some people don’t mind hearing the other side’s arguments and if the other side makes a good enough argument, changing their opinion. Other people hate hearing the other side’s arguments because they already know what they believe and don’t want to have to think about it more than they already have.
Now news organizations are more inclined to provide the news their slice of the market wants to hear and that has helped polarize the country and make people go batshit when they hear the opinions of someone who got their news from a different source.
So what have we learned?
Ummmm…reading what I’ve written so far, not much, but I’ll do my best to sum up the high points and here they are.
Don’t trust anybody who can’t admit the other side occasionally has a point or admit their side is occasionally wrong or can’t laugh at themselves when they do something goofy and maybe once in a while listen to what the other side has to say.
Be very, very glad we never dated.