seeing both sides

someone said:“There are two sides to every story.”

my thought: The media has been addicted to the “two sides of every issue” approach for a very long time. It’s impossible to have any news story these days without having two guests on that disagree about something.

I remember sitting in a statistics class my first year in graduate school, with the professor talking about the frustration he would feel when he was interviewed by the media.

He would be called to testify on some issue. And he would explain that based on the survey with a sample size of X, and such-and-such was controlled for, there is a correlation between these two things, and based on that we can conclude ____.

And inevitably, they would follow his interview with an interview with some man-on-the-street who would say the equivalent of “well…. that’s just not what I believe.” And the media would treat it as if these were on equal footing, as if this meant “we really can’t decide!” between the two.

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What I see as the even greater danger in all of this, is that by being inundated with this type of “reasoning” on the media every day, people are learning to think that it is valid.

I have had arguments about legal questions where I have cited the letter of the law, quoted an actual passage, and heard the response: “Well, that’s not what I believe.”

As if that’s the only argument they needed to refute the evidence I presented. “Well, I disagree” is now, by itself, an argument.

That is scary, to think we have an entire population of people being trained to think this way.



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