sacrificing objectivity

One of the challenges currently facing contemporary culture is the narrow selection of news. It’s not, in my arguably-less-vocalized opinion that so much of the news is this “fake” stuff we keep talking about; it’s more that it’s editorialized. We have facts that are filtered through opinion; the objectivity has been removed; therefore, the audience is subject to news which has been editorialized first.

Juxtapose, for example, the Huffington Post vs. the Drudge Report, and how they each responded to Pres. Trump’s decision last week to pull the United States out the 2015 United Nations Paris Climate Accord. [Note: the Intramuralist welcomes the respectful support or opposition to this agreement and to the decision to withdrawal; however, the decision is not what’s in question in today’s post.] Note how strikingly different the two supposed “news” sites handled the headlines…

With a background of flames, the Huffington Post announced: “TRUMP TO PLANET: DROP DEAD.”

The Drudge Report proudly boasted the President’s profile: “TRUMP FIGHTS: PARIS ‘CLIMATE’ REBUKE.”

This was over the same issue. At the same time. From “news” sites.

Pick most any topic upon which varied perspective exists — and is okay to exist (… wait… we still acknowledge that; right?). The challenge is that daily, people are reading one of the above, so-to-speak, insulating it with likeminded others, and then concluding that they have a clear grasp of the news. The problem is that news is objective, and both of the above sources are subjective; they are opinion offerers. They have editorialized the news prior to presenting it.

Let’s continue to utilize the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as our example, attempting to offer a more objective response. Here is where a source such as Rasmussen Reports, an American polling company, founded in 2003 is helpful in the discernment process. They track data and public opinion, aiding in objectivity.

Key facts regarding U.S. consent to the Paris agreement are that it was signed by Pres. Obama in 2015, but it was never submitted to the Senate for ratification or rejection. Regardless, according to the polling data by Rasmussen Reports, only 30% of voters support Pres. Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the agreement.

What is also true is that 60% of voters believe the Paris treaty should be submitted to the Senate for an up-or-down vote.

The above data — that true, has a margin for error — helps this current events observer wrestle with reality. Let me say that another way. The above data, which by definition is more objective, helps me better wrestle with what’s happening than any call to “drop dead” or “rebuking” of the Parisians. The editorials, in my opinion, often get in the way. They fan the flames, inciting judgment and disrespect.

The Intramuralist believes climate change is a topic worthy of in-depth, give-and-take, listening-based discussion. I also believe it’s a topic which tends to prompt the most disrespect, arrogance, and lack of listening. Note that Rasmussen also reported polling data last week that only 25% think the scientific debate over global warming is over. So let’s talk about it. Calmly. Humbly. Respectfully. Let’s listen to all perspectives. And let’s quit being seduced into believing that insulting another side makes anyone want to think like us.

The point of today’s post is be aware of how our news sources skew our objectivity, due to their daily presentation of an “editorialized” version of the news. When we adopt such as truth, we tend to have little patience for alternate perspective. And then we can’t even have those worthy, listening-based discussions.

Where can we find the news? While none is free from opinion (although CSPAN comes pretty close) and several sources offer opinion pieces (albeit clearly marked as such), the Intramuralist finds the following five to be among the most trusted:

  1. CSPAN
  2. The Christian Science Monitor
  3. RealClearPolitics (and its subsidiary sites)
  4. Reuters
  5. The Wall Street Journal

Notably omitted are the aforementioned Huffington Post and Drudge Report — also, Breibart, the Daily Kos, InfoWars, and Occupy Democrats, etc. On the left and on the right, each takes turns editorializing what we hear.

I thus wonder what effect an infusion of objectivity would have on today’s news… and how we could better discuss the issues thereafter.

Respectfully… always…