The Thing About Facts

So I was watching The Newsroom this summer. It’s good entertaining tv. Particularly if you agree with everything it pretty much goes on about (but that’s not why I like it); it’s a bit preachy. It’s very preachy. But it’s tv. It’s American tv, which usually has some bent on it. Anyway.

This isn’t an endorsement of the show. I like watching tv, and this happens to be something I like watching. It’s also requires some movement in the grey matter. Unlike, say Anger Management. Not that I don’t love Charlie Sheen, and will not hear a bad word said about him (long story). But that’s some seriously bad tv.

This isn’t a post about tv I swear.

So there is this whole bit in this show about reporting the news and one person says there are two sides to every story. And then one of the main characters disagrees and suggests they call the whole thing off. No wait that was Fred Astaire. The point being there aren’t always two sides to a story, and that sometimes some people are flat-out wrong. The show uses this as a stick to beat Republicans, which I am all for, since I still can’t quite fathom their general existence but that’s not what I am getting at. I do however agree with the premise of the argument. There are not two sides to every thing.

I am a big believer in dialectics (thesis + antithesis = synthesis); I think it is a good way to solve a lot of issues. But there comes a time when debate is just hot air and one side is right and one side is wrong. No ifs, no buts.

We, clearly, are always right. Just so you know.

News outlets are incredibly disingenuous. Be it tv, newspaper, so on and so forth. For example. I am an avid reader of the BBC website. And I also read The Economist, which I believe is the best newspaper out there. Auntie gets a lot of flack from a lot of places, whether it be on the box or the apparent lack of editing on their website. I for one will love Auntie until my last breath for complicated reasons I don’t wish to go into. And pretty much the same goes for The Economist. Yes I know it is a little bit right-wing, but fuck me they know how to write well. Either way, they make mistakes and sometimes knowingly don’t report the whole thing. But they are often good examples of writing on the side of reason above all else. Which is more than can be said for a lot of news outlets. Once, in Miami, I had a curious case of a die-hard Fox News Republican tell me straight-faced that “God, the BBC is so biased”. I didn’t really respond, I was a mere 20-year-old at the time.

I still can’t quite think of how to reply to that.

I follow American politics pretty closely (I like to think I add the international element to this website) and pretty much most media outlets are guilty of completely ignoring facts, seemingly going out of their way to. Which is weird. When I was in the UK I  would accuse most papers of doing the same thing on the left and the right. And British papers are appalling monstrosities of partisan hackery. I cannot stand them. Between tits and glorified picture books there aren’t a whole lot of good things to say about British papers. They’re either owned by Rupert Murdoch, overrun by sandal wearing muesli eating muppets, or the Daily Sport. I mean they are so bad it is incredible. Bear in mind I have spent time reading The China Daily and The Shanghai Daily, which are mouth pieces of the Communist Party; I found them easier to stomach than the torrid rags in the UK.

In a perfect world we would hear and see and read facts. Not “The TRUTH about something SHOCKING”.

I think most people take the news for granted. I for one want to read the facts not a fucking story. I don’t want to cite lots of examples of every strange story that has managed to get legs because people didn’t actually bother to dig a little deeper into something. Most people read one news source and leave it at that. And the vicious uninformed cycle continues.

It’s all a bit depressing really.

This is what the news should be doing to you.

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