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If I Agreed With You, We’d Both Be Wrong

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 21: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W.H. Bush, Barbara Bush and George W. Bush attend the red carpet during the Points of Light Institute Tribute to Former President George H.W. Bush at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts on March 21, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Most TV courtroom dramas begin with a phrase like, “Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, the evidence will show…” And therein lies the pitfall of almost every argument. Prove it? Show me proof from some credible source. Show me the beef. Show me the evidence.

Credible Source?

Is there such a thing in today’s 24/7 news climate? ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, PBS, FOX, MSNBC, C-Span? Who gets it right? New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Livingston Enterprise, Belgrade News?

Most of us find a source of information we like, because they agree with our prejudiced viewpoint, and we stick with them. We’ll set up a question on Facebook or Twitter then pull out our article or video clip to back us up against any opposing posts that might pop up.

We sit back, snap our suspenders, and laugh as our opposition begins the frantic search for some article or video clip to counteract our argument. But at the end of the day who’s really right? Whose proof is really proof?

Is It The Source or The Issue?

If I don’t agree with your article, but I can’t find anything to dispute it, what’s my next course of action? Those of you who are on Facebook know the answer — ignore the argument completely and attack the source of the information.

“That author works for a right or left wing blog.” “That’s not a credible source, they’re biased.” And in most cases that would probably be correct. We seek out those who think like we do, rather than explore both sides of the argument. We defend our sources at all costs and go to guns against those who disagree with them.

After awhile the original argument had disappeared. The new argument is no longer who’s right, but whose source is right. And that’s pretty much an unwinnable argument because the opposition would have to accept your source as credible for you to prevail.

Follow the Money

Another popular way to deflect an argument is to look for who has something to gain or lose from their position. XL Keystone Pipeline = Big Oil for example. Healthcare = Pharmaceutical companies. Stock Markets = Big Banks. The list goes on and on. Whichever side has the most to win or lose will be the big spinner of the “so called” facts.

Each side develops their talking points based on their own beliefs and ideologies and rarely strays from their chosen path.

Some Final Thoughts

Juries are forced to sit in the courtroom and listen to both arguments, not just one, then discuss those arguments without any outside input. I would love to see a newscast that shows both sides of the story equally. But it seems news has staked out its individual audiences of choice and will only speak to them.

I wish there was a fair and balanced source of info out there but what news organization wants to lose half it’s audience every time a new topic pops up?

If there were no disagreements there probably wouldn’t be any communication at all. So sit back and let me tell you why you should think like I do. You don’t want to be wrong do you?

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