The election is over and some candidates have won. Others have also lost and it doesn’t matter whether it was local, state, or national . . . we are done and tired of it all! One thing we can count on, however, is the rhetoric of politics and the showbiz portals disguised as news broadcasts will continue to sensationalize every step that follows. Whether from the right or left, it will all come in the name of telling you and me what we should think! Before, during and after a political campaign, the truth today remains debatable and the media continues to both entertain and enrage America.
So we start with the next four years, and what do we know? Well there are some truths that we will be able to count on. The people who have been elected really do want to make a difference . . . all people want to accomplish something great. Another thing we know for sure is that there will be people who try to sway our thoughts. That is inevitable if we are exposed to the media at all. We can also be sure that there will continue to be bi-partisanship maneuvers on the left and the right. It is going to happen.
As I watched the presidential campaign unfold and conclude, I wondered why there are two sides to every “fact” and truth is always debatable. What would it be like if our companies or families also had disregard for truth and used it only to better themselves or their position? Chances are you may have at some point experienced this in a company or in your family, and you know how damaging and frustrating it is when a disregard for truth is the functioning strategy. It means we can’t trust our coworkers, we can’t accept simple promises like “You are eligible for vacation in 6 more months” or the person who told you they can work at home is really not effectively working at home. It seems almost incomprehensible to go through life this way, yet we allow it in American politics and journalism to the point that it could also become commonplace in our own daily lives. This is by no means a political statement nor partial to any one candidate. (As a point of reference this story was actually written two days before the election.) I’m bringing up this delicate subject for two reasons, first as something to be aware of and to carefully consider as individuals.
If we were to allow our families, our lives or our companies to function the way that we allow cable TV and political campaigns to be run, the very core of civilization, the very core of the family unit would be undermined by accepting the blatant abuse of facts and truth. What if no one could trust the words being shared? What if a husband and a wife could not trust the words said to each other? What if parents could not trust what their children tell them? What if kids could not trust the words they hear from parents, grandparents, teachers, aunts and uncles and coaches? What if everyone had a spin to what was true and would spin something to their best interests and personal gain? What if that was the essence of your company or ours where people were only committed to looking out for themselves? If it makes no sense and the obvious danger is there for our companies, families and communities why would we continue to let sensationalism in reporting continue?
Questions to Consider
How can we as citizens in this country effect change toward the total destruction of reporting through the cable news networks over the next 4 years?
How can we once again help to create a culture where truth does have a place, truth does make a difference and truth is something we all seek?
Why do we have to have so many cable talk show hosts whose thought process goes no further than keeping an audience or capturing attention while their reckless abandon for truth and commitment to sensationalism are revered rather than scrutinized?
How does journalism and media today contribute to the disillusionment of young people and leave them wondering what is true and what is not?
What would it be like one hundred years from now if all of us took a stand today and began writing to the advertisers and producers of both sides of cable television about their false reporting? It could hit where it matters most to them, in the form of money.
We will know when we are hearing the truth when news programs are reporting the same things and there is not a clear and evident bias in everything that is said, and every statement does not have a perfectly opposite flip side by changing the channel.
Something we cannot deny has been present in all campaigns since the first election was held is that one side has always been brutally pitted against the other. But when it becomes magnified by a group of audience-seeking, recognition and market-share hungry, glamor personalities that we have allowed to step up and tell us what we should or should not think, then news becomes mere opinions or a story spun with dangerous thread. One of the most refreshing things we did in this campaign was watch the debates on the internet where we did not have to listen to the prognosticators afterward tell us what to think, how to think and why to think, creating a nation that no longer thinks. We were able to listen, assess and make decisions from there. It was a refreshing way to see both leaders in both parties.
A Difficult Job
Now that we have voiced our opinions against the Bill O’Reillys and Wolf Blitzers and Erin Burnetts and Glenn Becks and Ann Coulters of the world, here is one more piece of truth to consider.
The real truth is that reporting of anything is hard because we must go past our own personal bias, which could be the hardest of things to overcome in making the truth matter. Just as we look at our philosophies on Democrats and Republicans, it is also good to give the benefit of the doubt, because to be the wisest, to be the sharpest, to be the most reliable and valuable not only to our work and our family but also to our communities and beyond, we must learn to put aside our own personal bias to seek out the truth. Why? Because the fact is that truth really does matter today and for future generations that will be wondering the same things more and more unless we help bring about a clearer picture for everyone.
It is a hard thing to report without bias, and only those who truly reach a level of professionalism and credibility, whether it is a mechanic out in the shop or the salesperson dealing with or the leader of a company or nation, only those who truly learn to set aside their own biases for the betterment of all truly reach their potential.
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e-mail: jim at jphorizons.com
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