Friday, September 18, 2009
A Post About Garbage
What I thought I would write about next was garbage, actual literal refuse. Just another thing I've discovered about living in the suburbs is that since our trash is collected weekly now, instead of being taken directly to the dumpsters run by the city in our back alley, we have to put some time and thought into garbage management. The hobby I least wanted to adopt. Or, one the hobbies. Taxidermy would be another.
This became quite the issue of relevance when some chicken bones didn't make it into the trash in time for our Monday trash collection. As a result, this week our garage smells like a morgue that has suffered a power failure. Good lord, the stench. When my husband mentioned this to colleagues he found out it was a common problem, and that the list of solutions was both vast and amusing. Including more than one person who freezes their perishable garbage.
"No, no. Not that container! That's the remains of Tuesday's dinner! The frozen pot roast is to the left. Yes, in between the Breyers and the melon rinds."
Woo hoo. Fun Suburban living.
Instead of a wacky post about the ways of managing our trash, I find myself addressing an entirely different sort of garbage thanks to my friend Jo's post over on A Majority of Two today.
Her ire was understandably directed towards misinformation and ignorance about Canada. My fury has a different target and it is the sorry state of affairs our media.
Most of the people I know roll their eyes heavenwards when Fox News is brought up. That isn't news, that's the realm of slanted opinion. To call it journalism is a joke. It sports rhetoric as a matter of course, and would be laughable if it wasn't for the fact that some people take it as gospel fact. It's not. It's propaganda, and I've always believed that intelligent people understand that. MSNBC is often little better, CNN also commits crimes against fact and information. Most of our print media does little to obscure their favored political slant, also.
Opinion Editorials, referred to as Op-Ed pieces in most circles, have long been pieces of interest but please do not mistake them for sources of reliable information. The inherent downfall of the Op-Ed piece is in its actual title. It is opinion, not fact.
In this instance, the post I linked to leads back to a piece in Time magazine in which an opinion piece pretends to have fact at its disposal by using outdated data as a means of providing the appearance of containing fact. To say that I'm angry about the fact that Time clearly abandoned all standards of proof for journalism by allowing data to be put forth as fact without even a cursory fact check, would be to understate the matter at hand. I'm livid. It took me less than six minutes to thoroughly debunk those "facts" and "data" from three different sources, and not "my friend, the blogger" sources, but maintained and supervised organizations for the reporting of medical data.
Six minutes of my time to find out how much credence that list of supposed facts contained. I'm not going to provide the links on my search for the simple reason that we are participants in democracy. We, each of us, has a responsibility and a grave one at that, to keep ourselves as informed as possible. Each individual has been tasked with this in the United States of America, and each individual, if they wish to participate, must do so on their own.
Our media lies in that it contains a decided slant. It is up to us to find our level ground. To sort through the garbage and find the actual facts. It should not have come to such a pass, but it has. Even someone with the barest understanding of journalism can grasp the standard of proof that needs to be applied: No less than three independent sources.
Should we have to work this hard to be informed? No. It is shameful, but it is the current state of affairs.
To put this in context, the data about Canada's treatment of colon cancer is now so outdated as to be blatantly false. Want an example of how that might translate? It is no different from my saying, "In the United States of America people of color are not allowed to eat at the same counter as white people." and then backing that up with material from that time period. Horrifying, isn't it? Hey, in the past it was true, right? Presenting the past as the current state of affairs is not only fraught with peril, it is frequently so untrue as to be an outright lie. The piece in Time is even more shameful than that, it marries irrelevant data from the past with current data from our country to try and prove a point.
If someone has to lie, and manipulate data in order to provide a foundation for their opinion, I cannot think of a more obvious sign that their argument is without any kind of merit. That man might as well be telling me a story about Kah, the speaking snake, for all the real world validity it has.
Clearly I've got a head of steam going, and I do believe that most people are much, much better than this. That they do say, "Whoa. Is that true?" and then find out the truth.
The sole reason I'm putting this up here is because something needs to exist to encourage people to do their own legwork on issues this important. Multiple sources must be consulted. We must not react and make up our minds on issues of national importance based solely on Opinion Editorials.
Also, eating chicken in the suburbs the day before garbage collection and then forgetting to take that garbage out is tremendously problematic. I'd tell you to trust me on this, but I highly encourage people to do their own research.
Okay, maybe on the chicken bones = stench issue you'd be safe just taking my word for it.