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Why do politicians, of all parties, say such stupid things?

Why must a politician give an opinion on everything

By Peter RosePublished 4 months ago 4 min read
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Why do politicians, of all parties, say such stupid things?

Why must a politician have an opinion of everything?

Look at the headlines, on just about all media platforms, and you see statements supposedly from prominent politicians that just do not seem logical. First, we need to examine the platform and its own political bias, they all have them. Some are so extreme in their devotion to a particular political ideology that everything they say has to be treated with great caution. They will make claims that rival ideology statements are dangerous and evil when in reality the rival ideology has not made any such statement. Even less extreme platforms will “misinterpret” the meaning of innocuous quotes that a rival politician has made. All parties have begun to operate in the same way and democracy itself is suffering because of it. Fake news, disinformation, inuendo and downright lies have become normal to such an extent that they are accepted and not even vilified anymore. This is not healthy for the future.

The media is an insatiable consumer of “information,” The huge increase in methods of supply, of information, to a public audience, has created a demand for “news” that has way outstripped supply. Where once a few printed newspapers were the only suppliers of public awareness now we have countless radio, TV, print and electronic suppliers. Much of it totally without any form of constraint as to its honesty and fairness. This has created a situation where platforms “fight” for notice, they struggle to engage their audience, and so there is a need for sensation, a demand for argument and combative comment, where none need exist. A politician in Britain or America, is expected to have a meaningful, informed view about events occurring the other side of the world; when in reality the politician’s only source of information is from the very people demanding to hear their views. When was the last time a media report accepted that a politician did not know about an event? Now not knowing, not having a sound bite of opinion, is castigated and vilified. So, politicians make stupid and uninformed generalised comments which go on record as if some sort of defined policy statement.

There is a famous report from a, now dead, prominent sports personality, that he once answered a telephone call from a news reporter by saying “no comment” and ended the call. The next day there was a two-page report of an interview he had given to the reporter. Modern social media is worse in many respects because opinions are made to look like facts, and even worse, claims are made that someone else has an opinion that is simply not their true one, but by the time they realise they have been wrongly attributed, the deliberate misinformation has been absorbed by a large number of people.

There is a well know quote- I think attributed to Mark Twain, that there are three levels of lies; lies, dammed lies, and statistics. Our modern world has added another layer, that of “interpretation.” The same statistics, honest and truthful or not, get “interpreted” to agree with whatever political slant is wanted. All round the world there are people paid to “spin” facts and truth to suit the requirements of those paying the spin doctors wages. We all see the sayings;- a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. The bigger the lie the more likely it will be believed. We see the cult of celebrity worship believing that “our truth” or “my truth” has to be accepted as true, simply because a celebrity has claimed it. The concept that truth is absolute and dependant on evidence and factual records, has been thrown out in the frenzy to feed the media’s need to fill time and page, even if what is filling them is dangerous nonsense. There is a sense that many professional suppliers of “news and information” seem to believe that it does not matter what lies or misleading inuendo is published, because the modern public have such a short attention span that by tomorrow it will be forgotten and so does not matter. Obviously, such a generalisation is in itself misleading. There are serious ethical professional journalists working for publications that genuinely seek to provide truthful and balanced reporting. Even these publications are prone to unconscious bias. The laws of homogeneous attraction apply to human activity and so the people who make up any particular media outlet, tend to all have the same generalised view of the world. This forms a totally unconscious yet real, bias in the way they report events and what events they report. The organisation will be aghast at claims they show bias but when every person in an organisation has the same acceptance of what is truth, that becomes their collective version of absolute truth, they become unknowing of other views. When confronted with alternative views, they seek support from within their own “collective” and refuse to see any merit in the opposing view.

Democracy, as we understand it these days, is the government by representatives of public opinion on stated policies. The argument that modern technology should give greater ability for the voters to give, via referendum, opinion of specific policy decisions, does not alter the need for much greater truthfulness and clarity in the supply of information. The media obsession with the personality and personal behaviour of political leaders has taken the importance away from policy and replaced it with trivial denunciation of some possible supposed, character defect. How do we rescue democracy? This is probably the biggest issue facing the middle part of the twenty first century, but unfortunately it is the media and the modern professional career politicians who have to lead the way to a solution, and it is doubtful any wish to do this, or are capable of doing it, since they have to be strong enough to overcome the media.

controversiestechnologysocial mediapoliticiansopinion
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About the Creator

Peter Rose

Collections of "my" vocal essays with additions, are available as printed books ASIN 197680615 and 1980878536 also some fictional works and some e books available at Amazon;-

amazon.com/author/healthandfunpeterrose

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  • Alex H Mittelman 4 months ago

    Great work and good question!

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