Tag Archives: Politics

Fact checking with Bias

So unless you’ve been in a hole hidden away from media and society, you’ll know that politics is a hot button issue in the social media world. Every few posts I see on my Facebook news feed is either pro or anti Trump, or extreme liberal or conservative. These posts are often met with what I’ll call “radical views” (not actually that radical but somewhat devisive views) and comments. I enjoy reading them from time to time as they sometimes are amusing to hear banter and read the various viewpoints of my friends. The thing that bothers me more often than not is when people debate but back their facts with extremely biased sites. I’m all for debate and discussion and I do see the need to back your arguments with facts but it doesn’t really support your cause if you’re using biased media outlets like Breitbart, the Blaze or Slate and the New Yorker. The reason for this is that the articles and opinions on those sites are incredibly bias. 

Why does this matter? Facts are facts right? Well yes and no. Yes facts are facts, but not entirely. For example, if I’m looking at the world through my blue tinted sunglasses, I could look at something yellow and say it’s green, or something red and say it’s purple. Does that make what I see wrong? Perhaps but let’s apply this to the whole liberal/conservative issue. If I watch the Colbert report and see a clip that says Trump is a moron for appointing Betsy DeVos as the secretary of Education and reasons to show why that’s the case, if I had a liberal bias that would just reaffirm my own personal beliefs and then I would share it and think, that’ll teach those conservatives. Conversely if I as a conservative then saw something on Breitbart telling me that the Colbert report is stupid because of these reasons, I would feel justified in thinking that my views were right to begin with and Betsy DeVos should be secretary of Education because she’s the best suited for it (I personally don’t care – I’m Canadian). Biased views will produce bias opinions and it’s easy to find bias in research and statistics if you’re looking hard enough.

Now you might be asking why should this matter? Well if you care for facts and truth then it should matter where you gather your facts or “alternative facts” as it may be. It doesn’t support your cause in trying to change views or opinions, if that is indeed your point in posting anything like this. Yes it’s nice to be on the winning team from time to time but really when you post something from a bias media outlet you frequent and support it just seems like a huge circle jerk. 

I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that there needs to be a way to bridge the gap between the two sides. People need to be more open to understanding and open to civil conversation. I understand that often people go into conversations under the pretense that they’ll be civil but when you go swinging arguments using your biased media outlets articles, you’re not looking for a civil open conversation. You want an all out brawl guns a blaze, because that’s exactly how those outlets write their articles. They hope to incite anger and cause contention because that is the very fuel that keeps them going, taking all of their passengers along for the Blazing ride down Slate road watching the world burn down around them.

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Being gracious in all things

I’ve noticed in the past several weeks leading up to and following the election in the United States, two things that I’ve found to be quite ironic as an outcome of the election.

The first idea, being that there have been a large portion of people on either side of the debate prior to the election have called for civility and to put an end to ignorant name calling if their supported candidate won.

Prior to the election, many Democratic supporters of Hillary would suggest that people shouldn’t vote for Donald Trump because he is a racist, sexual predator, whose methods of garnering support have come from name calling and defaming his opponents among other things. These same supporters also suggested that should Hillary win, Trump supporters should graciously accept the result and not protest in response to the outcome, as Trump admittedly stated that did he not win the election, he would have sought to contest the results of the vote.

Conversely, Trump supporters would suggest that people shouldn’t vote for Hillary because she was a murderer, a thief, a liar and was the epitome of evil. Likewise, I believe they felt the same things as the Democrats believing that should their candidate win the election, they should bow out gracefully.

The second idea comes as a result of Donald Trump winning the future presidency. All the calls for civility, name calling have been for naught, and division in the united states have seemed to not only continued but possibly escalated.

There were violent and destructive riots and protests by many who opposed a Trump presidency. These people were in protest out of fear that they felt would come as a result of a presidential candidate that ran a campaign that focused on some racial tensions that have come out of the war in the middle east. Liberal news outlets reported hate crimes that targeted visible minorities and immigrants. People were physically and verbally attacked for their religious beliefs, and the colour of their skin. Fear among these communities were rising as these reports flooded out over social media. These same people called those who voted for Trump ignorant, stupid and a plethora of other names with negative impact.

On the other side of the spectrum, those who supported Trump were excited to say the least, but the decorum that they called for pre-election was still nowhere to be found. They called for civility among the Clinton supporters, and asked that the name calling and mud flinging stop. They felt justified in their decision as their candidate of choice won. However, they did not exhibit any form of graciousness as they did exactly what they sought the the other side to stop doing. Thousands of posts on social media are vilifying those who supported Clinton, calling them ignorant, unintelligent, cry babies for not “graciously” accepting their defeat. The irony here is that there is need to be gracious not only in defeat but in victory as well.

I admit at the beginning of this post I had a clear direction of where I wanted to go with this, but as I’ve been writing and have begun to think through my points, the more directions I want to take this. So I’ll, try my best to sum up why I started this post to begin with.

There are  high tensions due in part to Liberal and Conservative media outlets. People go to the respective news source looking not for truth, or opinions that oppose their views but to find affirmation of what they already believe. They find exactly that in all the “articles” they read from their respective media outlets. The “truth” they want to find is all there in black and white. What many fail to see beyond this truth is that there are people involved. So wrapped up in being right, that people fail to see the reasoning behind all the protests, name calling and lack of civility. Millions of liberal/democrats are hurt and afraid and they want to know that their world will be safe, but they don’t get that sense of security from the conservative/republican side. All they have gotten were things like “suck it up, you lost”, “protests show your intelligence” and other hurtful things that have fueled their actions. Many conservatives now have a sense of pride from winning, but in doing so have over looked the fact that the other side is experiencing these feelings of hurt, fear and sadness.

While I can only offer what I would suggest to be a call for more graciousness and civility in all things, I doubt my influence or audience would be wide enough to make a change. People will continue to be persecuted for their beliefs, called ignorant for what they feel they know, and vilified for standing up for their own good. This makes me as an individual sad for our collective existence of humanity.While I know this article does not represent all democrats/republicans, or liberals/conservatives, it does represent the loudest voice among those same groups. While they may be the minority, sitting back and allowing these things to happen is (although cliche to say so) just as bad as saying them yourself. We need to remember that there are people out there who need love, who need to feel safe, who need to know that their opinions aren’t ignored and heard. While we may disagree with what the other side said, we need to be civil in how we listen to each other, how we work with one another, so that we may move forward in building up a future we can all be proud of.

I’m probably too idealistic in thinking this, but I will do my best to listen to those who need someone to listen to and spread as much love as I can within my area of influence.

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