Opinion Dressed Up in ‘News’ Clothes

The QuipperyWhat we used to call the ‘News‘ isn’t really news anymore, is it!? Often it is simply ‘Opinion‘ dressed up in its ‘news’ clothes… and there is so much of it. It is hard not to be overwhelmed with the volume of information that you might have to digest in order to make a decision about something.

This is why people switch to the default mode –  ‘Confirmation Bias’. It makes life so much simpler. You can simply choose to read opinions that support what you’ve come to believe, and ignore the rest.

Terry Pratchett calls this type of ‘news’ – ‘olds’:

In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds… Not news but olds, telling people that what they think they already know is true.
– Terry Pratchett; from the novel The Truth –

Are you Stuck in the Olds?

There is a wealth of information on the internet that can help you to explore fact based arguments that might take you beyond where your bias has parked you. Unfortunately, you have to dig pretty deep sometimes to find the information that supports a narrative that opposes the politically ‘correct’ arguments of the day.

The News is Worse but the World is Better

In the video that follows, Steven Pinker, Author and Harvard Professor discusses the basic paradox – news today seems worse than ever – but based on a number of key metrics, the world is better than it’s ever been. Pinker explores the data and makes the case for how can we tackle the world’s problems while not drowning in negativity.

Let’s explore bias.

What controversial issue do you feel strongly about? Would you be willing to seek out information that contrasted with your belief?

 

10 thoughts on “Opinion Dressed Up in ‘News’ Clothes

  1. I was discussing this very thing with my husband yesterday! Its getting increasingly harder to find “real” news in all the discourse online about various topics (and as the algorithms that feed us “news” improve [i.e., better target us based on what we’ve looked at – even briefly], we get fed more and more info that may or may not be valuable). Unfortunately, far too many people believe whatever they read, “attach” themselves to sites or authors or viewpoints about that they want to hear (because it supports their views), and ignore the truth behind the rest. I avoid writing openly about issues I feel strongly about because I refuse to engage with trolls and others who believe that anyone who doesn’t share THEIR opinion is wrong. Its not worth the grief (IMO).

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    1. I think anyone who has strongly disagreed with me has quit reading my blog! I know I’ve quit following a few bloggers too. It isn’t that I don’t want to read their opposing opinions. I simply don’t want to read mean, slanderous attacks on people. I don’t want to read opinions that I know are based on what has been proven to be false news.
      But here’s the thing. We are free to simply not read, not follow, not agree.
      What happens when the Canadian government rolls out their latest proposals – media that our tax dollars are going to support and social media that is going to be blocked – based on government criteria?

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      1. It’s a slippery slope. Far too much “news” isn’t – it’s conjecture and opinion and information fed to newspapers by questionable sources. I don’t know if there’s an answer; I’m finding it very distressing these days to find anything “newsworthy” to read that is also trustworthy”.

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        1. It may be that the delivery mechanism for news has changed, but the product perhaps hasn’t. In the late 1800’s a publication for the newspaper industry wrote that “The public is becoming heartily sick of fake news and fake extras. Some of the newspapers in this town have printed so many lying dispatches that people are beginning to mistrust any statement they make.”

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  2. You are so right and I am so tired of hearing opinions instead of news reporting. I miss the days when reporters just reported what happened without “spinning” it and trying to tell us how to think.
    Keep up the good work Margy!

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    1. My husband just said the same thing the other day. He said the front ‘page’ of the newspaper or news site should be well-researched news. Everything else should be clearly labelled ‘opinion’ if that is what it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Remember when “fake news” was what tabloid headlines proclaimed at supermarket check-outs? Oh to return to innocence of those times. Sigh. As a Canadian I’m spared the plague of fake news, partisan editorials misinterpreted as unwavering fact and proliferation of say anything to further political or corporate advantage. Fake news doesn’t exist in Canada and we manage just fine to democratically elect politicians,

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    1. Maybe not a plague, but fake news (or disinformation) is alive and well here thanks to the internet!

      There is the story in something called Buffalo Chronicle that says Chrystia Freeland is angling to succeed Trudeau as Prime Minister. How truthful? Who knows.

      CBC’s Wendy Mesley apologized for their false report on the Covington School Boys. But that was 2 months after the fact, and buried as a one liner at the end of her show, apparently.

      A friend posted a 2 year old Rick Mercer rant on my Facebook feed. It attacked Jason Kenney with several personal slurs, but didn’t reflect the beliefs or policies of the political parties in Alberta today.

      The Liberal Govt apparently believes they need to address ‘disinformation’ in Canada. They unveiled “a series of new measures aimed at further shoring up Canada’s electoral system from foreign interference, and enhancing Canada’s readiness to defend the democratic process from cyber threats and disinformation.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Point taken. You’re right, Canada is far from squeaky clean on matters of misinformation. That said, it isn’t a plague nor dispatched with unapologetic ease on a daily basis. I apologize if I came across as sanctimoniously superior.

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