Opinions are tricky beasts.
Needing to have a hard take in a local paper on weekly basis is certainly not a burden, but it can be a delicate dance in ensuring that the opinion stated is not just a rehash of submitted material from a political party or another.
What I try to do in this column is to ensure I am not simply reprinting the opinion of a politician I personally agree with. The reason for this is public officials, to one degree or another, will always misrepresent the truth and blindly following anyone — regardless if your views and theirs generally align – is a folly for our democracy.
Public support, in essence, is a market and politicians job is to buy your support. By supporting anyone without question, voters are essentially selling themselves cheap.
When columnists reprint party lines, they are they essentially doing politicians work for them and that should never be the job of a journalist.
Bias exists. Every writer, journalist, editor politician, teacher, nurse, engineer and any other person you know on earth carries their bias with them, but the job of journalists should be to help people question absolutely everything while always recognizing and addressing their own bias.
No solution in our society is ever as simple as a politician will make it sound and assuming that anyone has a perfect answer is letting taxpayer elected public officials off the hook.
Politicians take and are responsible public dollars and are therefore open to constant public scrutiny of how those funds are used. This means that it is important we as a society don’t simply settle for ideological similarities between ourselves and our representatives.
It is important that all opinions are expressed in our society, but it also is important to ensure that opinions expressed are self-aware of their own bias.
This is where I strive to be and if I fail to address my own bias, I hope that readers will call me out.
Essentially, it is important for writers to recognize their own fallibility and have their work represent that accordingly. By stating opinion as irreproachable fact, journalists and columnist do a disservice to their readers.
I make mistakes, politicians make mistakes — everyone makes mistakes. To present a worldview without room for error is an affront to the intelligence of us all and this is why we need to continue to question why we think a certain way.
Realistically — I have my opinion, but I always could have a wrong one. If anyone sells you something different than that — your suspicion should be triggered.