Pretending to be Objective

One of the things I was taught before I started gambling in the stock market was to never “fall in love with a company”. The flip-side is probably just as bad; Short selling AIG because of hatred is not a rational thing to do.

If you are going to pretend to be a journalist, you have 2 options. Pretend to be objective or acknowledge that you are totally biased and confess to it. Consider Paul Krugman vs. Glenn Beck; Krugman does not pretend to be objective at all, and when you read him you KNOW that you are going to get a doze of Democrat and/or neo-Keynsian propaganda. That is Paul Krugmans vantage point. There are no hidden agendas, but plenty obvious ones. Beck on the other hand pretends to be objective. Opinions can’t be objective – ever. Even opinions based on facts are subjective. Some opinions are not based on facts at all, and we have a tendency to attribute more value to facts that support our opinion, while dismissing facts that do not (it’s called confirmation bias).

Stating a number of verifiable facts that support your opinion, does not make it objective. Lots of people think it does. They forget all the other factual information that do not support the stated opinion. Some facts are not brought to the table at all, others are intentionally forgotten, dismissed or disregarded as mere fantasy.

If you, as a blogger, pretend to be objective, and you might even believe that your opinions truly are objective (after all, they are based on facts), you’ll find that your audience becomes self-radicalized. Since what you are presenting is facts, it’s extremely hard to argue. Host of show : “ARE you denying the fact that….”, guest : “No, but we also found that..”, host : “those facts are not important, MY facts are!” (or alternatively, the host might just dispute the facts as being lies or fiction). As time passes, your only audience will be people who agree with you, and as “everyone agrees” it only reaffirms your opinion as being objective. Lou Dobb’s and Bill O’Reilly likes to run quote panels from “regular folks” who praise their wisdom as a sort of ego-booster.

So, opinions based solely on facts, are not objective. Nor are opinions based on fiction. That does not mean that I take opinions based on fiction as seriously as opinions based on facts. I am also painfully aware that I have to trust someone, which adds a secondary layer to the opinion shaping. As we have confirmation bias, we will trust whoever presents information that supports our own ideas. If I believe the earth is flat, I will consider a scientist who says it is round a fool. Why should I listen to a fool at all?

Advertisements

Author: prescienta

Prescientas ruler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s