In my humble opinion, I never used to think of myself as opinionated. This belief was revealed to be false after remembering the maxim, “Birds of a feather flock together”. Since a great many of my friends and associates have been very opinionated people, what does this say about me?
My treasured self-view as an objective person probably isn’t entirely accurate. It’s not like I don’t honestly try to look at issues and situations with a reporter’s eye. I just get careless and sloppy sometimes. Being subjective is the default state of mind. We see the world through our own set of eyes. Our world-view has been conditioned over time, through first-hand experiences, and exposure to the opinions of experts and leaders. If one sincerely wants to be fair and objective, it’s important to understand one’s own prejudices. It’s probably also a great idea to cut back on Facebook and Twitter time.
The public at large is increasingly obtaining its news via social media like Facebook or YouTube. These days, most of what we see has been personalized to suit our opinions and interests. I was reminded of this fact when advertising for “Bonobos” clothing started appearing at various sites I visit on the Web. I searched for the brand-name and found out that it’s a subsidiary of Wal-Mart. I wondered why this brand name and Wal-Mart keeps coming up because I never shop at Wal-Mart. Then I remembered that I have mentioned bonobos (the apes), several times on this blog. It’s the only explanation that makes sense.
In my humble opinion, it’s important for a news personality or pundit to disclose her or his subjective biases rather than hiding them. The tenets of journalism are best served when the news consumer understands how the stories can be slanted by the presenter. Of course, the best approach is for the reporter to mindfully gather and share the facts as fully and accurately as possible.
As news consumers, it is also important to consider our own biases and opinions when reading and listening to news. How does our own prejudice color the way we interpret what we’re told and what we choose to believe? As informed, effective citizens, we do our best to get information from multiple sources. How can the information be valuable unless it is grounded in real evidence, honest facts, and verifiable data?
The main points of today’s opinion piece is that I’m opinionated, but I try my best to examine my opinions in order be as objective as possible and not come off as an opinionated jerk. It’s important to really comprehend what others have to say and to write. I don’t think that being a dyed-in-the-wool believer is a virtue. I hope that I never become so opinionated that I become a cranky old codger.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 17th century writer François de La Rochefoucauld. “It is from a weakness and smallness of mind that men are opinionated; and we are very loath to believe what we are not able to comprehend.”