Saturday, December 31, 2016

Use Your Sound Judgement and Never Trust a Headline!

We Have Nothing to Fear, Except the Media

The media continues to destroy our faith in America, provokes racial tension and only 32% of Americans say that they trust the media.

Avoid fear and use some good judgment and common sense.

Rule 1    Understand your principles and live by them.
Rule 2    Find the source materials for stories and draw your own conclusions. Keep things in context.
Rule 3    Email or write sponsors and media outlets regarding specific lies, misleading headlines and exaggerations.
Rule 4    Invest 2-minutes into checking facts when stories upset you or sound too good to be true.
Rule 5    Do not live in fear.

News reports will soon focus on various end of year statistics, based on our calendar year. Because the government will leak or simply provide information in drips and drabs, the media will provide lots of stories and debates. Most will be slanted to reflect the media’s desires. 

Read the actual statistics that will be available on-line and to be vigilant as the media tries to manipulate us with arched eyebrows, heavy sighs and adjectives and adverbs. Some radio stations host actually talk over, drum their fingers, and sigh while broadcasting parts of speeches and press conferences! (Write the station sponsors and tell them you no longer bother to listen).

If you read the actual reports and numbers that are released, without the media filters, you will not be frightened and can make up your own mind about what the numbers mean.

In the meantime, we do have statistics from the fiscal year, 2016, which runs from October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. I mention this because the media will quote whichever source makes their point and will even mix their sources to produce a slanted view of key issues.

Watch for reports that compare whole numbers and percentages. Watch for apple to oranges comparisons.

Remember that you cannot have it both ways. You cannot distrust the media and quote the media when something is reported that supports your views. Rely on real facts.

Rejecting the Premise

Answering a question about a complicated situation in a witness chair is frustrating when the attorney  demands a 'yes' or 'no' answer. We often try to answer with more complete information so that the jury can make an informed decision, but the judge directs us to answer the question with a 'yes' or 'no'.

It never made sense to me. Why would anyone not want to provide all of the information? Do the jurors really want the simple answer so they can make a quick judgment? Some questions cannot be honestly and morally answered with only two possible choices.

The debate and conversation about refugees is very complex and millions have accepted the premise that there are only two types of young men fleeing places like Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and South Sudan: terrorists and those at risk of becoming terrorists. I reject this premise. The premise is based upon fear. I live in 'the land of the free and the home of the brave' and want to know when did we become the 'home of the afraid'?

Millions upon millions of us fear a religion. Even more fear change. I am not among them. Do terrorists commit horrible murders? Yes, a small handful commit horrible murders. However, more murders are committed in many U.S. cities that have a few million citizens. (There are one and a half billion Muslims in the world and the percentage of murderers is minuscule compared with the percentage of murders committed by Black residents of Chicago or Baltimore).  [I know that I just said the unspeakable. Blacks in a single city murder more people than terrorists]. But, let us return to refugees and our fears.

The fake news sites and legitimate news sites fuel the flames. While the fake news sites contain complete lies, the legitimate media may be just as harmful with their half-truths and selective reporting. However, fake and incomplete news stories are not the real problem. The real problem is that we want our prejudices and fear of our changing culture to be justified and we want a make-believe solution.

Fact-checking only takes a few moments. If an issue is important to you, why would you not check the facts of every story concerning that issue?