I look stuff up.

May 13, 2011 at 10:07 AM (Uncategorized) (, , )

It’s part of my intellectual DNA.  I’m a lapsed academic now,  but I was trained as an historian, and told to check for the source closest to the time and place of a given action or occurrence.  Learned that it was important to look stuff up.

While I was doing that, I was doing part time work in an archives.  Archivists set up documents into systems that make it easier (ostensibly) for people to look stuff up.

Then I got trained as a librarian.

Librarians are the masters of looking stuff up.  And, even better?  They spend their days helping other people learn how to look stuff up.

It’s too bad universities, archives and libraries are getting defunded these days.

But the point here is:

Cable news has taken sides.

Now of the subset of people that make watching cable news a part of their day…Like many cable news watchers I love listening to the commentators that hold similar views to my own.  It’s affirmation that you, in fact, are not the only person that thinks (a) is amazing and cool or that (b) is completely batshitcrazy.

It’s like putting on a pair of comfortable shoes…but…they lead you through what *they* have decided is important for you to know.  And they edit.  And they spin.  They tweak and twist and are particularly unashamed of their obvious biases.

I charge both sides of the cable news fence with doing that, both the ones I oppose and the ones I agree with.

So after a particularly rousing hour of basking in the comfort of like mindedness…

I fact check my own side, as well as the other.

And since these are mainly political and other news items.

I check C span for what the Congresscritter actually said.

I check AP.

I review factcheck.org

Places that I think are as reasonably free of bias as one might get in these times.  They aren’t on “my” side, or “the other guy’s” side.  They dig into or intital record, what was said or done.

and yet, when I bring the “a said this” or AP has this on it’s wire…” I’ve been told by those both on my side and on the opposite side of the political fence…

“I don’t want facts…” or from another, “I just want my side to win…”

or “I don’t want to know about it until it affects me…”

I’m not talking about information overload, which I am often guilty of foisting on people.  That’s different.

I’m talking about being one of the most vulnerable members of society, and using the only tools I have to hand…information…to help me make decisions about how to move forward…and then being advised that the salient things I uncover are, in fact, unnecessary…

It seems the less vulnerable one is, the fewer facts they think they need.

Sorry, I’ve got no choice.  I’ll still be looking stuff up.

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