When we read, we learn things. At least, that is what I always told my daughters when they were growing up. The truth is that we can read many different things and still learn very little. After watching the crazy-show of the last election, one thing I learned was that one can read anything – and everything – slanted to fit one’s perspective. By reading only left or right leaning articles, one can actually learn very little of value.
I know that sounds jaded, or defeatist, or maybe just sad, but the truth isn’t always out there – or, at least, not easily found. Sometimes, it takes work to read between the lines, to find a buried article, to locate the truth. It is important, though, that we continue to read until we find those nuggets of truth…no matter how difficult it might be.
Far too many people read only Facebook memes, slanted to confirm a thought or slanted to force an emotion. They spend their entire lives screaming about how unfair life is, how the “other side” is out to get them, to get someone. Yet, they never go looking for primary sources, the real facts.
I had a graduate professor once tell me (in an educational statistics class) that one can skew any data to follow the path one wants. She was correct, of course. We really can skew the data to say what we want. But…But, should we? Doesn’t everyone have a responsibility to share data clearly, cleanly, without bias? Or is bias so ingrained, so prevalent, that there is no way to be truly unbiased?
I guess the only way to answer that is to take the time to read things in total, from the original source. To check out “facts”, and then double-check them. I believe we have a responsibility to do exactly that. Although, sometimes, I think I am tilting at windmills; hopeful in a hopeless world. I am always looking for people who think as I do, who want to know “just the facts, ma’am” (like on Dragnet). Am I all alone out there? How about you? Do you read for the unvarnished facts or for the slanted facts?