We all come to the table with pre-formed opinions. We see the world through a prism, which is shifted every day by the things we see and hear.
For many of us, each article, blog, TV segment, podcast, etc. will cement our currently held beliefs. For others, it will sway our opinions down another path. But for all of us, the way we view the world will change.
Depending on how you feel about an issue from the outset determines what you’ll choose to click or turn to and how you’ll react.
Some journalists try to deal an even hand. But whether they know it or not, all start with a slant — some more blatant than others.
Or, as a respected history professor once cautioned his students, “All historians claim to be fair. The best they can hope for is to be honest.”
You can spot the telltale signs. Just listen or read carefully. Ask yourself: What was the tone? Why were certain words used? Were they emotionally charged?
The Image Was it a bold art statement? Or a never-appropriate depiction of violence?
In support: “These pieces are meant to shock ― to shake American citizens from their sleepwalking in hopes of inspiring them to not only recognize the terrifying direction in which our country is being led by Trump and his administration, but also to fight it.” (Huffington Post)
Against: “It turns out that somewhere in the entertainment world, there is a line. A line that Kathy Griffin crossed in such grotesque fashion that she wound up getting bounced by CNN…Perhaps Griffin thought this was the thing to do, to grab some attention for her D-list career by joining the parade of Hollywood hatred.” (Fox News)
The Apology Was it heartfelt and believable? Or forced and contrived?
In support: “So, I think it’s time we accept her heartfelt apology and move on. In these confusing, panic-inducing times, I want to be challenged. I want to be forced to reconsider what I think is “right” and what’s “wrong.” I want an outlet for my anger and I want the chance ― however rare ― to laugh.” (Huffington Post)
Against: “She apologized for the photo shoot and YouTube video later, acknowledging she “went too far.” However, by Wednesday morning, her attempt at a joke clearly fell flat among the public.” (Fox News)
The Fallout Were they overreactions? Or totally justified?
In support: “If you step out into that spotlight and you’re doing the crazy things that [Trump] is doing, we’re the last line of defense. And really, comedians are the last voice of truth in this whole thing.” (Jim Carrey, comedian via CNN)
Against: “It was deeply inappropriate and runs contrary to the core values our company stands for. We have acted swiftly and decisively to demonstrate our commitment to a culture of decency, civility, and tolerance.” (Bobby Edwards, the CEO of Squatty Potty via Rolling Stones)
The Press Conference Did it successfully illustrate Griffin’s side of the story? Or was it just an obligatory part of damage control?
In support: “She was at times emotional and tearful and times threw in a few quips…But she also was defiant, insisting that the backlash would not have happened to a male comedian, and vowing to continue with the Trump humor.” (Variety)
Against: “After such widespread backlash, it may seem odd Griffin would position herself as the victim of bullying, rather than the bully. It’s a word that has been associated with her brand of comedy before, and something she has talked about experiencing both as a young girl and as an adult.” (Washington Post)
Where do you fall on the issue? Are you firmly camped on one side, or tugged by a mixture of both?
(P.S. Notice any familiar ProVisors’ faces at the press conference? No matter which side you fall into, send them your kudos and support!)
For more about shifting perception by controlling what you see and hear (and references to prisms), read our article Different Prisms.
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