Do you remember the good old days when the media (i.e. nightly news, newspapers, magazines, etc…) had a segment dedicated to opinion. Opinion is defined by Merriam Webster as: “a view, judgement, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter.” The lines between opinions and actual news are not blurred today, they have been erased. The demise of news started with the 24 hour news cycle. Some of us remember a time when the news came on nightly and many people tuned in to find out about world and local events, that by the way was covered with a great deal of integrity. Today, we have entertainment companies running everything from the News outlets to the Weather Channel. The news channels used to post “Breaking News” on their sites and television when for example President Reagan was shot by a would be assassin. Breaking news now is a talking point, an opinion that has a tiny bit of facts. Is there an end in site?
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have become the giants in Social Media. They post more opinions in a few pages than a person used to digest in a calendar year. Many people have an opinion that is presented as facts. The key is pick one or two facts as a core and surround them by opinions. It is difficult to decipher actual facts. Reporters used to have integrity, now they are seeking ratings, there five minutes of fame. It does not matter if you are Conservative, Liberal or Non Party Affiliated, come to the table of half truths, we have something for everyone’s taste buds. Most hard working people do not have time to properly vet the enormous amount of information presented to them during the course of one day. This misinformation is not only shaping our children it is putting a stamp of endorsement sometimes on people that behave badly.
In the end, an opinion is nothing more than a perspective of one person. The danger is when an entire group of citizens buy into an opinion and it starts to dress itself as a fact. I will end with a quote from Desmond Tutu ” There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” We have embraced opinions as facts and the level of arrogance of people is skyrocketing today. We need someone to go upstream and find out why people are falling in.