Who Can You Trust? — By John Reed

Who Can You Trust?
When you put information together to answer a question, it’s called “problem solving.” We all dealt with that in math classes in school. But when you have to weigh the truth of information, the source of that information, or the bias of that source, the issue becomes trust.
These days, it’s become harder to trust even our most solid sources of information. Gone are the days of Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, and David Brinkley. Instead of a few principled newsmen, we’re bombarded with information from innumerable sources on television, radio, and social media. And each source has its own perspective or bias or spin on the supposed “facts” being purveyed.
So: who can you trust? In many cases it boils down to what connects with your own experiences and belief systems. However, surrounding yourself with “confirmation bias” can easily lead you astray. Here is a recent personal trust issue:
My company vehicle recently developed a tire problem. I took it to two different tire shops to check it out. One said it’s no big deal, the other said it needed to be replaced. Who to trust with a potential safety issue? The shop who installed the tires likely doesn’t want to eat the warranty, so they said don’t worry. The other shop likely wants to sell me a new tire, so they said replace it.
In this case, I have years of experience with my local guy, so I trust him more and will replace the tire.
On to a larger issue. Distrust in government was here long before Donald Trump was elected…just ask the Indians about that. (I know, “Native Americans”…don’t cancel me.) Still, Trump was very effective at highlighting bias and bullsh*t in Washington…from both parties.
Enter his successors. In this hyper-partisan atmosphere, their best move would have been to be open, honest, and transparent with everything they wanted to do. Instead, they’ve fallen into the same trap, thus ensuring distrust will continue and increase.
A prime example is the effort to reinstate trust in the voting process. An honest assessment would admit that some of the efforts to make voting easier due to Covid restrictions probably went too far. Had the efforts to bring things back to a sense of normalcy been bipartisan, none of the hyperventilating we see now would have happened.
Instead, the party that established and presided over Jim Crow laws for a century are now ironically calling out their opponents. Their claims that efforts in Georgia and elsewhere are somehow racist assume that people of color are unable to follow simple rules that are expected in many other walks of life. Such an assumption is of course racist in the extreme, but the irony is again lost.
So again: who can we trust? In personal life, in business, in government? It’s more critical than ever that we listen to multiple sources and keep an open mind. Fox, NBC, NPR, even BBC all give their (different) take on the same basic facts. We must listen to all sides and then use our own experience and our own hearts to come to our own conclusions.

1 Comment

  1. Glenn Kemp on April 21, 2021 at 10:51 am

    Fairleigh Dickinson study says people who watch Fox News know less than people who don’t watch any news.
    Fox News defended Tucker Carlson saying rational knew better than to take him seriously

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