getting an imbalanced perspective

16 07 2008

I want to link to an article from The Onion, which is a satire news website.  I don’t normally read it, but I saw a link to this article and through humor it says a lot about the state of the mainstream media.

Actual Expert Too Boring for TV

I suspect similar things actually do happen, because someone is too boring or too detailed or just says too much for the allotted time.  I’ve thought this numerous times in the area of politics.  The newscast will include a one or two sentence quote from a presidential candidate, then the news anchor might give a quick summary of their bias / opinion, and then they move on.

I realize that a 30 minute news show (or even an hour-long one) has only a certain amount of time to cover all their stories, so that’s why they give you a quick synopsis of each.  In some cases that’s fine.  But on complex topics like global warming, there’s not nearly enough information for people to be educated enough to figure out the truth.  What we normally do is rely on experts in that field, because their job is to study it, so they should know what they’re talking about.  But what about when there are experts on both sides of the fence (like with global warming)?  I’ve heard several people (non-experts) who will argue and defend one side of global warming, yet have no facts to back it up.  They supposedly know the truth because someone told them.

This also happens with religion, even within denominations of Christianity.  I’ve met people who believe a certain way, yet can’t explain why other than someone told them.  This is very dangerous because there are a lot of false teachers out there, as well as good-meaning people who are wrong in certain areas.

To summarize my rambling here, I wonder why people don’t do more thinking and researching for themselves.  If we’re going to have a strong opinion on something, shouldn’t we know what we’re talking about?  This is especially dangerous when it comes to electing our next president.  We shouldn’t follow a particular candidate just because they speak smoothly or say the right things — we need to research what they actually stand for (beyond what they say in debates and interviews).  I suspect the people who manage the campaigns know that most people don’t want to think for themselves, so they strategize to present the image they want, without having to prove it.

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