Apply reason, not emotion

Print Article

Founders expected more from Americans than blind partisanship.

CHEW ON THIS: A Pew Research Center survey finds about two-thirds of Americans use social media to get their news. Of that number, nearly half go to Facebook.

News organizations, including this one, routinely post content to social media sites. So maybe, at least some of those consumers are getting news items from professional providers. Even so most news organizations, again, including this one, post limited content in very abbreviated form to social media. So those relying on such platforms as Facebook likely are not getting the full story.

Does it matter?

LOOK, AS PART OF what sometimes is called the "mainstream media," we recognize some people are immediately turned off by journalists. A significant percentage of people simply do not trust people like us, and there's not much point arguing that those folks should change their minds.

In the modern media age - it really started with talk radio and 24-hour cable television programming, then came full flower with social media - consumers can choose information sources that most closely match their personal view of the world. Conservatives have their media menu and liberals have theirs. Fewer and fewer people want information sources that do their best to play it impartially.

It's called "confirmation bias" - meaning, you tune in or log onto sources that tell you what you want to hear.

WHAT WE WILL argue is that Americans are selling themselves - and their country - short when they close their minds to the possibility their own treasured view just might be dead wrong on a given issue.

A definition for partisan is "a strong supporter of a party, cause or person; prejudiced in favor of a particular cause."

A definition of intellectual is "an extremely rational person; a person who relies on intellect rather than on emotions or feelings."

All Americans ought to put more stock in reason and less in partisanship. Choosing to be a "confirmation bias" consumer of information, clearly, produces the opposite outcome.

One might remember the philosophical roots of America's founding were firmly connected to the Age of Enlightenment, the 18th century turn toward humanity's capacity for reason in ruling over baser instincts. Dividing into angry, emotional partisan tribes is the antithesis of the Founders' hope for the nation.

WHICH BRINGS US to the squabble over whether Facebook is wrong in its decision to reject becoming the information cop on its site. Facebook will not limit political ads or how they are targeted toward specific groups of people. It will not ban political ads, as Twitter did. And it won't take on the fact-checker role.

Get this out of the way: Sure, there's an obvious pecuniary element. Facebook makes a lot of money on these ads.

More importantly, though, Facebook is telling people they are not babies and ought to exercise their own due diligence. Consume all information skeptically. Stop swallowing anything and everything so long as it confirms your biases. Use your head for something besides a hat rack.

Be true to the Founders. Value reason over emotion. Think. Start by questioning your own prejudices.

Print Article

Read More Editorials

Over? Not really, but it's a start

January 21, 2020 at 9:20 am | Meanwhile, let folks in school buildings know they are appreciated. IT WOULD BE A colossal understatement to suggest the past few days have been consequential in the School District of Beloit. As...

Comments

Read More

Eternal vigilance guards freedom

January 21, 2020 at 9:20 am | Mostly under citizens' radar, political partisans scheme for electoral edge. IF WE WANTED TO make a bet, this is probably a safe one: Not many people are paying attention to a court battle in whic...

Comments

Read More

Maybe the issue is management

January 13, 2020 at 9:25 am | Often, behind runaway legal costs, is a culture of operational disarray. COMPARATIVE NUMBERS for legal costs in the School District of Beloit and several other systems across Wisconsin are, to say...

Comments

Read More

Apply reason, not emotion

January 13, 2020 at 9:26 am | Founders expected more from Americans than blind partisanship. CHEW ON THIS: A Pew Research Center survey finds about two-thirds of Americans use social media to get their news. Of that number, ne...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2020 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X