Friday, April 16, 2010

What Good Are Other People’s Opinions, Really?

It Seems Most of Us Forget that all of the columnists and commentators in all of the papers and on all of the networks make their living by putting out their opinions according to schedule.

Keith Olberman and Bill O’Reilly and Glen Beck and George F. Will and Maureen Dowd all make their living by how well they express their opinions. Not from the factual value of the opinions themselves.

Of Course, We Should All Know This, without saying. But judging by the verbal badinage flying back and forth over the Net, sadly, we don’t. It’s all pretty much “news” to us.

Our Responsibility as Readers is to filter those opinions through the prism of what we know about each commentator. When we listen to Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post, we must look for any break in the Right-leaning perspective, and if to Eugene Robinson in the same paper, we should look for the same kind of break from the Left.

That Is, Mr. Krauthammer’s Praise of President Obama means more than Mr. Robinson’s. But Mr. Krauthammer’s condemnations may be taken as just “more of the same”: noisy opinions from a guy just writing to deadline.

Likewise, When Mr. Robinson takes the Left to task, it teaches more than when he lambastes the Right.

Of Course, We Can Continue getting our “news” from these commentators—from the editorial pages and from MSNBC® and from FoxNEWS® and the like. We just need to put it to constructive use.

The One Objective We All Share—everybody who comes to comment pages such as those online, and everybody who writes letters to the editor anywhere—is the desire to make the world a better place. Or at least to see it become one.

Not Much of This Happens when we just keep cheering those we agree with and hurling insults at those we don’t—on “Letters to the Editor” pages. Or on “Comment” forums all across the WorldWideWeb.


No comments:

Post a Comment