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Three score and ten or more

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Continuum Yuk

This is a supplement to my last post that I started writing in my mind  within minutes of the last post’s arrival.  I kept wondering why so many  folks cannot accept anything by an opponent as valid.  Before I hold forth on that, though, I have to apologize for my off the cuff last comment on my last post.  One of my few constant readers asked me what I thought of Harry Reid’s comment that Romney is a disgrace to Mormons, to which I replied that I think that Harry Reid is a disgrace to Mormons.  One of the things that Mormons are taught early in their years is that no one but our ultimate Judge has any right to sit in judgment of the righteousness or faith of others.  I am ashamed of my quick judgment of Senator Reid and I have spent some time on my knees asking for forgiveness, not only for  my sin (Our Lord said that he will forgive whom He will forgive, but of us it is required that we forgive all men) but asking forgiveness for the good Senator, if he feels he needs it.—or not.

Back to the ranch:  One early things we learn in the study of Communication and Semantics is that we are all subject to the temptations of selective exposure.  That means that most of us, especially in the case of things we hold dear, tend to select those bits of information that support our current feelings and understandings.

Supplementing this bit of info, I have been known by those who know me best as a news “Junkie”.  It is more difficult now in the era of 24 hour news exposure from multiple sources, but I have been known to watch the news  from one source while taping that from other sources to get the broadest picture from the widest points of view.  I still watch FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, (which is pretty difficult they are so inept) and all three of the major networks.  Taping is not as necessary as in the past because CNN and Fox broadcast everything multiple times so one can look at things from a variety of perspectives.  I would find myself really puzzled by my friend’s attacks on Fox News for lying or taking one point of view (frequent term is Faux News) and I admit that their commentators (Hannity especially) takes a paint of view that sometime I find uncomfortable, but even in commentaries one would rarely find on CNN, never on MSNBC, and rarely on any of the former National Networks the equivalent of opposing points of view as effective and as often as one will see such as Juan Williams, Alan Combes, Bob Bechel (I know I spelled that wrong)) and the wide variety of Democratic campaign officials and political figures.  (Many Democratic  folks are invited but never come.  O Reilly would kill to interview the President, but the President would never come for such an interview in part because no one on the O Reilly show ever gets to complete a sentence in the interview without interruption.)

I do have to say that generally those on Fox who deal with hard news are evenhanded and incredible effective,  I found myself glued to the TV back in the time of the New Orleans  Hurricane and I think that if there was objective thinking, The Fox News  reporter (whose name my seventy eight year old brain just wont recall) should have won a Peabody for his work in New Orleans..   THe pejoratives generally hurled at FOX are classical reminders that we all are subject to the use of selective exposure, listening only (or mainly) to those who strengthen or uphold  our already held opinions and criticizing any who oppose us.

I don’t know how intercollegiate debate is done now, but I had the good fortune to spend two years debating with a great coach and in debate at that time one had to have an affirmative case and a negative case and had to look at both sides of an issue very deeply, and to know how to take either side with passion and integrity. (there is a place for integrity or both sides of every issue.)

I said in the beginning of the previous post that  I fail to understand how anyone with an IQ over forty can support the president.  Taking selective exposure and the passion that exists in social issues, on reflection, for one who believes strongly in the principle of socialized medicine (and any who followed my blog five or six years ago, know that I had many affirmative things to say about it)  or who was/is emotionally caught up in  the idea of the first Black President can overlook many evidentiary items in order to maintain that thought.  I am still personally frightened by the thought of what our nation will be like if he wins.

A passion for certain social goals will lead one to oppose other good goals.  As Mormons, we are taught almost from infancy to follow the Motto “Choose the Right”.  To earn or just to buy a CTR (get it? Choose  The  Right) ring is really exciting for many young people.  Last week in church I noticed some really nice people that I love passing around bumper stickers (not to me, they know me) which said       LDS- CHOOSE THE LEFT.


At 5:26 AM, Blogger Ed said...

I generally just stay away from the news commentary on any channel or source. I just listen to the evening news and read the splurbs on CNN online. If I want to know more on a subject, then I do like you and go to multiple slanted sites to hear both sides. Even then, I still stay away of anybody who tells me how I should feel about a political topic. I can do that part on my own.

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

Looking at the last paragraph of my post, I was very struck by the irony (for me at least) in going to church this morning, and at the end of the meeting, the closing song was an old hymn GOD SPEED THE RIGHT. chuckle chuckle.
Ed you have an interesting approach, but generally the evening news of all three networks is slanted. Even magazines or other print sources need to be checked with each other.

I subscribed to TIME for thirtyor so years (also NEWSWEEK for most of that time because I felt that one balanced out the other. I quit when I found that both were so biased and they had begun to echo each other. I think the only "news" magazine with an objectivity at all is probably US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT. My romance with TIME/LIFE began to fade while I was in High School. One of them came to my town of Pocatello, Idaho on the report that high school students were wearing really outlandish hair cuts. When they arrived and couldn't find any weird haircuts they went to the students and offered to pay (for the haircut plus a stipend) any male students who got wild haircuts. Several did, and were featured in a National Magazine. Comparison and skepticism are necessary whatever your source (s).

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Ed said...

I've heard people say that the evening news is slanted but I don't see that. Does that mean I lean in whatever way they slant? In my opinion, they are impossible to slant much if at all because they don't go into any detail other than the basic facts of something due to time restrictions. The news shows that elaborate on particular subjects however do have a bias similar to Time and Newsweek which I have both subscribed too at times. The reason is they spend a lot more time on any particular subject and thus subject their bias into it.

At the end of the day, I think bias is mostly in the eye of the beholder. A great example of this was a segment on last weekends CBS Sunday Morning news show. They read mail from both sides claiming that the show showed a lot of bias towards the other side. Me on the other hand didn't feel any bias in the segments where they interviewed Obama and Romney. Perhaps it is because I consider myself a conservative independent instead of a republican or democrat.

Whatever the case, your blog and any discussion on bias always interests me. I am fascinated on who sees bias and whom people feel are biased.

At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having spent years reading your thoughts, I have increasingly been convinced that you are a good man. I know how important your faith has been in your life and how it has shaped you and the lives of those around you. I deeply appreciate your personal introspection and your belief that you need to align your words with your beliefs. I pray for a time when believers of all faiths can align with the common thread that runs throughout all great religions of the world...it is arrogant to judge others as judgment will only come from God.

At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Kathleen said...

OOPS, I forgot to type my name.


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