Many of us are under the assumption that every news source will get it right. For some of us, we may only see a select few as being the bonafide truth. And then there are far too many who just don’t care. But the real truth is a little unhinged. I’ll let Robert Evans, America’s famed film guru, explain:
“There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no-one is lying.”
You see, truth itself is an unstated fact. It can only be found in the surrounding evidence. You know there are bushfires ravaging Australia’s east coast, not because someone told you, but because you see the pictures and videos. You see the harrowing calls for help. You see the brazen aftermath.
However, if you follow each news outlet as they report on them, you will find how different each story can be. That’s because telling compelling stories requires some sort of emotion. And emotion harnesses a disconnect from facts. All those stories on the bushfires are true, of course; they are just told with individualistic flare.
But they won’t be as different as their political stories, because we can safely assume that at least 99% of the world think bushfires are bad.
So what happens when we delve into a more polarising subject like climate change?
Most of us get our news via social media, and it’s here where we can see the opposing arguments:
If you’re not familiar with The Australian, they are considered quite conservative in their approach to delivering the news. The story above is the only article they’ve shared on their Facebook that relates the bushfires to climate change since this week began. When I say “relates”, I mean they mention it once in the whole article and focus more on the ongoing drought being the catalyst. They also seem to impress the supposed greenie approach to refusing backburning methods as a cause, not realising that the reason we are seeing less backburning now is that the window period for conducting them is too small. There’s simply too little time before the warmer months hit for firefighters to backburn problematic areas safely and securely.
So let’s see what the Sydney Morning Herald has to say:
It’s somewhat not surprising to see this as the latest post on their facebook page. The Sydney Morning Herald is a little more left of centre when it comes to politics. Of course, this is in no way an attempt to change your views or to make you hate one or the other, but simply to show you the power of accumulating all sides of the argument.
One of the most important things they teach you at university is to be a critical thinker. And in order to be successful at this, you need to open to all sources. Of course, journalists who have started their career by studying at university are taught to be critical thinkers, but each and every one of them is still human. They still have control over how the story is told and the editor has control over which stories are told.
Many US citizens will note this with the way the media portrays President Donald Trump. Check out this supposedly unbiased story of the current Trump impeachment inquiries from CNN:
The case for and against impeaching President Donald Trump
CNN spoke to legal experts and analysts from both sides of the political spectrum to break down all the evidence, and…
I’ll skip the fact that this article shares more points in the for section than their against section and go straight to the most intriguing part of the story: the opening sentence in the against section.
“Trump and congressional Republicans have complained about the process from the very beginning, and they’re likely to continue raising these procedural concerns until the bitter end.”
Ain’t those some harsh negative words! My point is if you were to simply just follow CNN, you’ll likely end up hating Trump in an unbiased way. This is not so much of a bad thing when you consider how megalomanic he is, but it doesn’t help with constructive critical thinking. Words are powerful weapons, as they say.
NEWSFLASH! ALL MEDIA ARE BIASED
Newsflash: All Media Are Biased - Hunter and Bligh
No matter how much rhetoric the media landscape spin on media bias, leaving the assumption that most media are…
That’s right: all media are biased. This is something we cannot overcome because all media are run by humans. And ergo, humans are naturally biased. We have our own opinions on how the world works, and some of us like to share it widely. This is not a bad thing, of course, because if we weren’t all biased, the human race would be as dull as beige paint.
But we can overcome this problem, and that begins with following as many news sources as you can. They all have something to offer when it comes to breaking news and following them all means you won’t get sucked into a thought bubble. To be honest, following one news source is a dangerous activity because you’ll never be able to think critically. How can you think critically when you’re only following one side of the argument?
“ There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no-one is lying.”
The thing is, all the news outlets, whether left, right or central, will always tell the truth. They are bound by it. But the way you see that truth depends on how it is told to you, or even if it’s told at all. And if you want to be a true free thinker, you need to open yourself to all sides of the story.
It’s the only way to combat the evil in this world.