Taking Opinion for Truth: Responsibly Engaging the Media

Individual media consumers seeking to maintain intellectual composure when faced with a media message should stay aware of the fact that they are being sold a point of view. A consumer should not turn on the news seeking to learn all the facts, but should be prepared to instead carefully consider and debate an opinion, that includes facts having been selectively chosen to create a convincing narrative. Media personalities are not evil for doing this, but we the consumer are often not prepared to interpret and digest impartially the opinion being carried. As a result we take opinion as Truth (tall T Truth, a truth which is infallible) and proclaim it our own opinion. There is nothing wrong with agreeing with another. consensus in debate is a very important part of intellectual growth, but of course, when we are having that conversation with the media, it is a one-way debate (them to us). Even when multiple personalities are thrown in the mix, we should remember to stay on guard with all of them, even those opinions we find most sympathy for.

The average media consumer is ill-prepared for this arena, where the media personality is at his/her most comfortable. Therefore, its important that the consumer broaden their intellectual curiosity by maintaining multiple sources of information, including scholarly, popular, and personal material, to imbue their worldview and shape how they seek to react to others arguments.

Is impartiality impossible? I honestly believe so, there is no dispassionate wise man able of contemplating all experiences and formulating the most rational design. However, we can broaden our worldview enough where we are open to multiple interpretations. We have to be aware of peoples perspective, especially those who seek to deceive or hide their own perspective. So after being aware that we are in fact in a debate of ideas, not a one-way mirror of Truths, then pinpointing the perspective of a person, and examining the thoughts within that perspective, we can use the broad experience we have at hand to adequately do the job of dissecting other perspectives, sometimes agreeing, sometimes disagreeing, without getting swallowed up by their opinion.

You want a more precise barometer of precision than your own powers of observation fine-tuned through extensive study and careful consideration? There’s always Politifact– fact-checking American politics. But the limitations are apparent, when seeking discourse outside the narrow window of American politics.

One thought on “Taking Opinion for Truth: Responsibly Engaging the Media

  1. Pingback: Final Stretch Brings New Heft to Trump Campaign on All Fronts | The International Scope

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