My parents always had the same tabloid newspaper delivered every morning. As I got older, I’d read the news and sections that interested me, but when I moved out I had a different newspaper delivered. This one supported opposing views on most issues, and I found myself approving its coverage.
After a while, though, I became less comfortable with the unequivocal tone of some editorials. I formed the opinion back then that it isn’t good for me to read a newspaper I agree with (mostly). It’s too easy to believe that the majority viewpoint agrees with mine and stop listening to alternatives.
It would be good to find a genuinely independent newspaper, but that isn’t going to happen. Now I don’t buy one unless I’ve run out of puzzles.
Instead, I watch the day’s news on two or more TV channels. One is usually the British Bias Corporation. It’s interesting to see which news it downplays (or omits) compared to other channels, and which items it concentrates on instead – sometimes events that others barely mention.
Lately – mostly when I’m putting off editing – I’ve found myself lurking on blogs I don’t agree with. Maybe I’m trying to understand their reasoning, although sometimes there seems precious little reasoning going on. If the writer is on a soapbox, I rarely comment. Views that are aired online tend to be firmly held – often aggressively, as if the writer feels personally threatened by an alternative view.
Why add fuel to the blaze? Nobody can change a closed mind, and slanging matches only summon trolls who believe that s/he who shouts the loudest wins the argument.
What I find particularly worrying is the way that suspects detained by the police undergo trial by media long before genuine evidence can be presented at trial. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence until proved guilty?
By the time press headlines are further stirred by Facebook and Twitter (other social media are available) what are the chances of finding a jury whose opinion has not already been influenced?
Here’s hoping the upcoming generations grow more media-savvy than our own and better able to sort the wheat from the chaff that the press feeds us.