It’s amazing how many news articles I read where the author points out the political party affiliation of an individual in the story. WHY? I’ve got a few theories:
- Journalists have become so immune to their own bias that they don’t even realize they’re injecting unwanted commentary.
- They know they’re doing it, but they figure it drives up content views and therefore revenues.
It doesn’t really matter why they do it – or anyone else for that matter – it’s wrong, irrelevant, and ignorant.
Democrat This, and Republican That
News stories are constantly describing a situation, quoting a point someone is trying to make, and interjecting the political affiliation of the person making the comment. They need to stop doing that! It shouldn’t matter if someone is a Democrat, a Republican, an Independant, or anything else. What we should focus on is examining the point being made and assessing it on it’s own merits.
If a Republican makes a good point, and no one tells a Democrat what that other person’s affiliation is, perhaps it will have a chance of being absorbed, analyzed and considered fairly. And vice versa. But as soon as you label a person, many other people will instantly go on the defensive and basically refuse to take anything into consideration proposed by their “rival”.
People You Know Do It Too
It’s not just journalists, tons of people you know probably do the same thing! I’m constantly getting emails from people discussing hot topics that’ll have insults buried in them calling out “Demorats” or “Right Wing Republicans”. And when I see them, no matter how well reasoned the argument at first seemed, I second guess EVERY DAMN THING I see from that person based on the assumption that they are inherently biased and unable to process information fully rationally.
Yes, that means if you send me emails insulting any other “side” I think you’re pretty much an idiot.
Having said that, I have no problem attacking an idea!
- Should abortion be legal?
- Should drugs be legal?
- Is the legal system broken?
- Is Trump the devil?
- Does this website suck?
Any of these topics can be debated between two people without ever classifying either one as a “liberal” or a “nazi”. The world works despite, and because of, differing opinions. And indeed, because humans are complex, and there are many ways to see the world, someone that might lean towards the left or right might have certain views that are diametrically opposed.
There are certainly conservative Republicans who believe the medical system should be socialized. There are liberal Democrats who voted for Trump. And throwing a political slur at someone in order to discount everything they might say is basically the same as hurling any racial, sexist or gender insult.
The Bottom Line
- If you have a point to make, back it up with verifiable facts, from neutral sources. If you don’t have any, make sure to preface your statements with “I think…” or “I feel like…” And recognize that if you don’t have facts you have to be open to someone else providing some.
- Even when a mountain of facts are presented, don’t let only those sway you. Perhaps you are with a skillful, persuasive individual. Accept the info, and then seek an equally skillful person with an opposing opinion to balance out your input of data.
- NEVER be 100% certain of ANYTHING! Only an idiot believes they have perfect information. The dumber you are, the more certain you’re right.
Finally, if someone sends you an email that is grossly biased – whether it’s a news article, or just someone spouting off at the mouth, feel free to send them to this page. And if that’s how you got here, you seriously need to re-evaluate your communication skills. Because you’ve obviously offended someone, and you probably didn’t even know it!
But if you did and you were purposely trying to be an asshole. Mission accomplished. You’re an asshole.