Friday, July 09, 2004

In My Opinion

We all use this phrase, but how do we form our Opinions? Most people form their opinions from: The Medias or they adopt someone else's opinion.
Lets look at the Media first.
In this day and age, we are swamped with information overload, News and OpEd pieces can be found in 1)Print Media (Newspapers, Magazines and the Pamphlets that smelly Hippies and Anti-War Mommas hand out), 2)Audio/Visual Media (Film and TV), 3) Radio (Rush, Hannity and Air (I'm Not Failing) America and 4)The Internet. With all these sources one truly needs to aware of the bias when reviewing them for the facts in which to form your opinion. The only un-biased source is one that just presents the facts with no commentary or editing. But that is very rare. Biases can come in many forms, Blatant bias, such as Bush the Evil President... or Kerry the Liberal Socialist said.... the Bias of Omission, in which the author omits some of the facts to conform to his/her bias. And then there is the Hidden Bias. The Hidden Bias is the worst because the author is intentionaly biasing the story while professing neutrality. Examples are: Israels Occupied Territories, Iraqi Insurgents, or mentioning that a Republican Senator did something bad, but when a Democrat Senator does something bad, his party affiliation is Not mentioned.
With all these biases, one must sift through the garbage to find the nuggets of truth in which to form a valid opinion. Another good way is to read or listen to both sides of the issue and disregard the one that does not conform to the reality or to which you know is the truth. I personally read WorldNetDaily and fox news every morning for my news sources, but I also know to shift through some of the biases for the facts. I find that it is easier to read the news for the facts, because you can always reread it to find the biases or the true facts. With TV and Radio, you are being presented the stories with biases and you also are being bombarded with the emotion, voice inflection, and with TV the body language and visual stimulation. You can't always filter these factors out and you can't always go back and review for just the facts.
Another way to form your own opinion is to adopt another person's opinion, which is common. If we respect a person then we generally will adopt their opinion as our own. But we do need to be wary as the respected person may not always be right, thus we need to verify with the facts, whether this person's opinion is valid. I read a lot of blog sites every day to read other peoples views and I do adopt certain aspects of their opinions to help finalize mine. Look at my Blogroll, these people are good and have valid opinions, but you also need to filter out the sarcasm because it is there.
When you are young you generally adopt other peoples opinions before forming your own, as you grow older, you look for the other sources and then form your own opinion based on your life experiences and your worldview. Since humans are social animals we tend to band together with people that have like opinions. But healthy debate with someone of the opposite view point is good, because it sharpens your opinion and allows you to discard a bad opinion if the facts reveal that it is wrong. You alway need to keep an open mind when confronted with an opposing opinion that the facts truly support.
So all this leads up to; Form your own opinion based on the facts filtered from bias, other respectable people's opinions, and keep an open mind.

Mr Minority

PS: My Opinion Counts ;-)