Recently I made a remark on a right-wing wacko site (a site that has nevertheless allowed me to post what they think is my left wing wacko stuff so until that courtesy ceases I will at least give them props for that and try not to disparage them by name.)
Here was my entire comment:
“Thanks melfamy and James. I actually feed on ignorant attacks, but i appreciate other facts if they are properly sourced. People that express opinions as “facts” are particularly vexing to me, but I enjoy all discourse even the aggressive kind at times.“
This post was an offhand remark to people welcoming me to the light side of the force but was then subsequently hounded for what they felt “properly sourcing meant.” Apparently they felt this remark was a full blown “. . . lengthy lecture about credible sources”
This person then proceeded to call me out on various posts, even ones meant to be humorous or self-deprecating; as if by doing this they could defeat my argument and simultaneously prove their own.
In return they proceeded to do exactly what I was truly railing against, the random spouting of completely unsourced numbers and claims. I guess they figured that if they could disparage my sources I would have to accept theirs. As if! Just because they produced some numbers from somewhere we should accept their “facts” about them. When I questioned them I was told to “do my own research.” I guess they hoped I would start drinking whatever koolaide they’d gotten ahold of and would become truly enlightened.
As I told this person before, which they chose to ignore, even biased outlets are sources. They can be researched and the material proven or disproven. In some cases you will only see articles covered on biased sources, be they Fox News, Huffington post, the Drudge report, CNN, etc. That doesn’t automatically disqualify them as accurate or containing germane information about a given discussion, even if their angle is potentially or even usually biased. Most people have biases and in this media age it’s hard to capture an audience’s attention without catering to those biases.
For instance: I do not doubt that Clinton had an affair with an intern. That story was sourced first among right wing outlets, but nevertheless proved true in this case. The motives for pursuing that investigation were obviously political. The outrage over his cover-up hasn’t stopped many of his detractors from conducting themselves in the same or worse ways before that situation and long after. Just ask Gingrich’s last two wives.
As long as the reporting isn’t fabricated, biases can help ensure no one escapes media scrutiny. Assuming certain classes of people were beyond approach is what lead to such an outrageous Catholic pedophile priest scourge and the travesty that Penn State’s football program has become. Had more people been more questioning of authority, I can’t help but believe those situations would have been caught sooner, properly addressed, or never been.
Incidentally when asked what sources he thinks are credible or refers to he mentioned Glenn Beck. I know, waste of time, right?