This is the first piece in a new series, How I Learned the Facts of Life. Which is, not coincidentally, the title of my WIP book, How I Learned The Facts of Life: Living With The News.
It’s provoked by some of the unfortunate aspects of the 2016 election, primarily how people have become dyspeptic over facts, truth, news, bias in journalism, what they think journalism should or shouldn’t be doing.
Dyspeptic and bizarre and plain dopey. As many of us have come to realize, too many people seem to get their “news” from TV, or from the internet. There is a massive, angry confusion about truth, lies, opinions, valid information.
But facts–which I for one require before I form opinions about complex subjects, and certainly require before I vote–can’t be gathered from alternative sources.
We can only get reliable facts from world-class newspapers.
I know this because I was lucky enough at New Rochelle High School to have taken a political science class called Problems in American Democracy. As I describe in the first piece of this series, it’s where I learned how to read newspapers.
I pass the information along here. It’s easy and once you see how it’s done, you won’t be able to ignore the method when you read the news.
In further essays, I’ll tell you incidents from my own life that elaborate upon where and how we get facts, opinions, truths and lies.
And I’ll relate a painful story about how I was shamed by speaking up when I didn’t know what I was talking about. That one incident is the foundation of why I live and write the way I do–checking every piece of information, looking up words in the dictionary, telling you when I’m too lazy to look something up, and when I know I’m being knee-jerk in an opinion. And when I’ve been wrong.
Facts are the formative material in developing profound, individual truth.