Friday, May 15, 2009

Evidence?

I’m amazed at how so many people can have so many informed opinions on subjects they can’t possibly know anything about.

How do you have an opinion if you don’t have any facts?

How can you be for or against Matthew Johns, for example, when unless you were in that room yourself you can have precisely no idea for sure what actually happened – and no one who was in the room is likely to be any sort of reliable witness?

Similarly, how could you have been for or against Tony Veitch, when you could have had no certainty about what happened there either. It’s not like either party didn’t have plenty of reasons to keep things out of the public eye.

Learn to sieve carefully through the “facts” that you have before forming an opinion based on nothing more than simple hearsay.  Ask yourself before forming your view what actual hard evidence you have, and whether this constitutes the whole truth.

And how about all that stuff that the media who break the stories never make public?  The information you need to know in order to judge an accuser’s agenda is precisely the information that isn’t made news. In both these stories for example and all the stories like them, the reason they first hit the media hardly ever becomes part of the story, yet that story – the reason a story can hit the news seven years after the events alleged – is often as big or bigger than the story itself.  If it’s British, for example, and Max Clifford is involved, then you know you’re getting only half-truth at best, and you kiss goodbye to any chance of ever getting to the bottom of the story.  If it involves a “celebrity,” then be sure to look out for the self interest.  And if it’s politics, then just give up altogether – because as Whale Oil has been arguing with respect to the Melissa Lee video ‘scandal,’ the way Jesse Guruanathan's story got to the media is probably a bigger story than the ‘scandal’ itself.

But that’s the part of the story you’ll never got to hear in full because that’s all just politics – where facts are not facts, they’re whatever you can manage to make them.

3 Comments:

Blogger Luke H said...

unless you were in that room yourself you can have precisely no idea for sure what actually happenedThis is an interesting philosophical position - if it is the case that we can have no idea for sure what happened if we were not present, how can any human justice system make objective judgements?

5/15/2009 01:03:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Even a very good human justice system can still only work towards knowing what happened, but even in simpler cases (and rape is never a simple case since it usually hinges on the issue of consent and what constitutes consent) you can never be "fully and irrevocably certain, beyond any possibility of error" of the events at issue.

But that's not the context, is it. We're not on a jury viewing evidence adduced in a trial in an objectively constituted legal system, but seeing evidence raised in 'shock-horror' headlines and top-rating TV spots -- evidence chosen not for its ability to portray the facts, but to titillate and to damn.

Trial by media is not a trial at all -- not in this sense anyway.

5/15/2009 01:27:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

evidence chosen not for its ability to portray the facts, but to titillate and to damn.
Ain't that the truth. The media (and people reading newspapers and watching the news spots) could hardly be more turned on and breathless if they watching a porno.

5/15/2009 03:11:00 pm  

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