No, you’re not entitled to your opinion

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by SilentPanda, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    Should news segments give equal airtime to both sides, even when the other side is based on opinion and not facts?

    The article has a lot more information but I didn't want to include a giant wall of text.
  2. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Feb 14, 2004
    OBJECTIVE reality
    It's interesting that he mentions philosophers.

    The thing I remember most from taking a philosophy class, 30 years ago, is the idea of having a valid argument. In the context of philosophy, a valid argument was one in which your opinion -- no matter which side you're on -- could be backed up by logic and facts.

    It did not involve pulling statistics out of your ass or making up things about your opponent, which is what too much of politics and "news" is today.
  3. Andeavor macrumors 6502

    Aug 19, 2010
    News is supposed to be neutral and without opinion, you list the facts as they are and expand on them as you reveal more.

    But I agree that if you have a discussion of a news segment or issue, you need to provide valid sources and facts to support your opinion no matter what side you're on.
  4. Kurwenal macrumors 6502a


    Jun 27, 2012
  5. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Real news should be reporting solely on the facts. Opinions should have nothing to do with it.

    Unfortunately, in this day and age, there are very few "real" news shows left, and the majority of "news" that people watch is manufactured "news" entertainment. Basically, fake news. They need to generate this fake news and fake controversies (Libya is the most recent example) in order to try to bring in viewers. Real news, where you are only reporting the known facts, is quite boring, which makes it quite difficult for CNN, MSNBC, or FOX fill their entire 24 hour per day news cycle.

    I majored in Communication Technology & Media Studies in school, and one of the things I studied in one of my communications research seminars was how college students were getting their news. This was actually during the Fall 2008 semester, during the last election. One thing I found was that you're actually probably better off watching the Daily Show or the Colbert Report over cable news, because they have just as much, if not more substance.

    Check out the study "No Joke: A Comparison of the Substance in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Broadcast Network Television Coverage of the 2004 Presidential Election Campaign" by Indiana University professor Julia Fox (published in the June 2007 issue of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media). It's quite interesting, and her comparison is actually with broadcast network news, which has more substance and less filler/fake news than the 24 hour cable news networks.
  6. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    In the OP's example though it is a fact that Meryl Dorey believes that the measles vaccine is linked to Autism. Where the news report fell short, IMO, was by not stating that this belief has zero scientific research backing it up. Since this false association has been so prolific in the past few years I don't fault the news show for touching on it but I do think they failed to show the whole picture and that was the disservice to their viewers.
  7. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    Short answer-- "no"

    You have hit on two of my pet peeves--

    1) The frequent way in which TV "news" shows jump back and forth between "reporting" (---"facts" if you will---) and opinion, completely blurring the two. Time was when, even if you didn't accept the viewpoint you got from the limited set of facts presented, they actually tried to set "facts" and "opinion" apart.

    2) The idea that in order to avoid bias, on every subject of "opinion", they have to find 2-4 people representing a spectrum of opinion, thus creating an equivalence between those who believe vaccines are very dangerous, and, those who don't, implying that the truth in is the middle somewhere. Which, in the cited case, it isn't. This spectrum-of-opinion idea, misapplied like this,
    creates a bias.
  8. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2009
    I don't like the way the media feels the need to consider even hateful people as credible now. They trot out all these horribly anti-gay people who have said horrible things in the past and put them on the air as if bigotry were a legitimate point of view. It is not. Worse, some of them they use as on-air "experts" to explain evangelical demographics on election nights. (I'm talking to you CNN). It's disgusting.
  9. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    Their sponsors don't require that they enlighten those watching, only that they keep the viewers tuning in.

    As always, follow the money.
  10. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    It's impossible to be 100% neutral, unless your completely removed.
  11. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    Agreed. Pure objectivity is simply impossible unless you are an alien observing from space and describing what you see.

    The problem is that opinion and fact are used interchangeably and some "studies" blur the line. "Evidence" is still subject to bias, which means it is easy to perpetuate something that is wrong. Then others buy it and next thing you know, you have mad hysteria.

    For example, I could make a factual statement such as, "when most European nations implemented universal healthcare, significant reductions in crime, infant mortality, morbidity, and infectious disease rates were observed". I would be basing that off of numerous statistical reports, all of which are peer reviewed in their respective fields. But then a news agency may say something such as "universal healthcare in the United States would not lead to the increase of wellbeing as it did in Europe because America's differences in geography and cultural diversity". What they said is not necessarily untrue...these are real barriers to standardized care identified by both advocates and opponents. BUT, most sources that say it would cause outright failure because of this are usually organizations against standardized care for a series of reasons, many which are conflicts of interest. So if that news agency draws their conclusion from an article written by Billy Bob of (who happens to also work for Eli Lily pharmaceuticals...), which obviously is not peer reviewed and accredited in any way, where does that leave us?
  12. MorphingDragon, Oct 20, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012

    MorphingDragon macrumors 603


    Mar 27, 2009
    The World Inbetween
    The only news feed I listen to comes from right here. I can hardly criticize someone for doing something crazy and dangerous just because their imaginary friend told them to. I'd be a hypocrite.

    Good god Bronies are invading MR.
  13. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    This is why not only do I look at credible sources in the US, but I also look at what gets reported in the US from overseas outlets, as for the most, they have no major stake in our policies/issues. Those outlets that do, I don't frequent.

    For example, I'll read something on NPR or USA Today or CNN or <insert news organization here>, then I'll cross that with something like The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Le Monde, or the like, to see what they reported, put the two together, and then draw my opinion from that.

    Exceptions would be something like Fox News, then (both owned by Murdoch). See where the potential conflict of interest lies?

    So while not an alien, some places are removed enough to where you could see what has happened with objectivity.

  14. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    Who gets to judge which person has proven their opinion as valid? Sounds simple to begin with, but would probably end with some type of repressive state that ends up creating their own logic.
  15. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    You're entitled to your opinion, but you can't get all huffy if/when someone demonstrates you're a fool.
  16. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    That leaves us where we are today.

    Climate change arguments are a good example of what you're talking about.

    Anthropocentric climate change deniers (or at least doubters) will come up with a number of opinions/arguments to confront the idea of climate change.

    They'll say things like "Changes in the Sun might be influencing climate shifts", or "Human carbon output is very small compared to that of natural processes" etc.

    Now this is in itself not a problem, these are good questions to ask and they should be considered. The thing is they have been considered and studied in astonishing depth.

    The problem is that the nature of argumentation in this country has become heavily reliant on just raising the question as a legitimate argument in itself (Fox in particular is guilty of this, always making statements like "some people are wondering" or "some people have claimed", suggesting the fact that mere uncertainty constitutes evidence). But just presenting a question without attempting to answer that question is totally meaningless.
  17. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006

    Facts get to judge.
  18. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    Matter of perspective as one person's facts may not be another's... (Yes I know, but I've met people in their own realities).
  19. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Then it's an opinion, not a fact.

    Something can only be a fact if it's an absolute, proven truth.
  20. VenusianSky macrumors 65816


    Aug 28, 2008
    There is law and there is theory. Whether it be in the name of science or society, there is law (fact) and theory (opinion). There can be different perspectives to people's ideas. Ideas can be relative to the individual and to that individual's life experiences. So in other words, there is no true wrong or right with many ideas. A great mind once studied the theory of relativity and I try to apply that theory to my own personal experiences with the physical and psychological world.
  21. SilentPanda thread starter Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    But there are facts that (should) dispell incorrect ideas. If I have two people presenting opposing ideas to me and one has repeatable and testable results, I know which side I'm going with.

    You try to apply the theory of relativity to your own life? How does that work? I don't really try to apply the theory of gravity to my life but it also kind of just happens.

    Theory is not opinion. Theory describes an explanation of why and how things happen based on facts.
  22. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Yet what issues really rest on repeated and tested results? Most of the compelling political issue we face require some leap of faith by which we have to assume our solution is better than their solution.

    By the time an issue has been confirmed through repeatable testing, it usually ceases to be a hot-button political issue.
  23. VenusianSky macrumors 65816


    Aug 28, 2008
    I find things to be relative to one's personal life experiences (what is in the mind), just like how we see things in the physical world are relative to one's visual perspective. Theory and opinion are not really different. They are both ideas that can or cannot be tested. For example, I can say that blue is best color. That is relative to my own personal experiences. However, if I say that blue is the best color for everyone, that is opinion, or a theory that I think everyone has the same idea or experience with the color blue as I. Maybe they do, but most likely they don't. There is no way to test this however. I hope you understand that my analogy is to put an opinion in the most simple of terms. I don't actually think that a favorite color is a strong opinion. But try to apply the same idea to someone else's opinion. Take into consideration that the person's opinion is relative to their own life experiences. This is just the way I try to see things.
    Also, I just want to be clear that I do believe ideas can be proven as fact. In science, it is called law. However, I find many ideas to be simply opinion, or theory. I try to use my best judgement and I don't find much good with forcing my opinion on others. That is just my opinion, and probably why my signature is what it is. :)
  24. SilentPanda thread starter Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    I thought you meant Einsteins theory of relativity. Which is not what you were talking about apparently.

    Theory and opinion are different. You can say blue is the best color and that is your opinion. It cannot be tested. Now you could state that blue is the best color for a plate because it will make you eat less. You could then test that theory and if it was found to be true, then the theory is true until somebody proves otherwise. If it proves false it is no longer a theory and holding onto it as such is simply (false) opinion. I could then show you that blue is not the best color for making you eat less and we could repeat the test to show this.

    PS I have no idea if blue is a good color for plates.
  25. ixodes macrumors 601


    Jan 11, 2012
    Pacific Coast, USA
    Title of thread "No, you’re not entitled to your opinion"

    Very appropriate :)

    As long as one praises Apple all is fine.

    I slipped, thinking this was a forum of public opinion for Mac & iDevice user and expressed an _observation_ about some users. It wasn't even my opinion, just an observation.

    For that I got clobbered with an accusation / warning of being a troll along with the resultant ding from the mods. As a huge Apple enthusiast that owns loads of Apple stuff, and participates in many of the forums here, the message received is loud & clear.

    Moral of the story?

    Be pro Apple no matter what & remember to say very little :)

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