Three sides to an argument

by: Tom Morgan

I tip my hat to those who tell both sides of a story.

For instance, the teachers. Some will teach “This is how it happened. According to many historians. But...this is also how it happened. According to other historians.”

These teachers ignore the politics that hang over the issue. They refuse to kneel at the altar of political correctness. They teach kids opposing points of view.

Pity there are not more such teachers. If I was a young student I would appreciate a teacher who taught me about Darwin’s theories. And explained that there are many people, noted for their intellect, who believe in opposing theories. And there are others who believe in theories expressed by various religions.

One of the best history teachers I’ve known taught three or four views of the American Revolution. Including a Marxist view. (It was a revolt against capital and capitalists.)

I will admire any journalist who explores both sides of the global warming issue. Too many feel their stories might be damaged if they admitted there are many big-time scientists who disagree with most of what Al Gore and his followers preach. Too many newspapers and networks refuse to ever run a piece on those scientists’ views. They fear anything that might contradict the party line.

What a pity. How I enjoy any article that presents both sides of this huge issue.

I would enjoy any network or papers or magazines that would present both sides of the Iraq War. Instead, most of them have chosen to present only one side. If something happens that runs counter to what they have presented, they ignore it. Or they kneecap it.

There is so much of this it has gained a stranglehold on readers and viewers. When the subject comes up, they use the same tactics their newspaper has. And so they never discuss, they preach.

We have found 500 weapons in Iraq that contained some of the worst poisons known to mankind. Enough of these poisons to kill millions. “The weapons were too old.” But Saddam assured the world he had no such weapons. “The military is making this up. To justify the invasion.” Only a tiny percentage of weapons caches have been found and opened. “They’ve had years to find these. It is just too convenient to find them now.”

Iraqi’s tell pollsters they are happy the Americans dethroned Saddam and closed down his shops of human butchery. By huge majorities. They tell pollsters their lives are better now, in spite of the terrorists. Large majorities say the new government is legitimate and democratic. They consider their parliament legitimately represents the will of the Iraqi people. They want American and British forces to remain there until Iraq is more on its feet.

“Rubbish. These must be government surveys, totally biased.”

In fact, these are from four independent polling companies.

“I bet their pollsters don’t speak the Iraqi’s language. And what Iraqi’s would feel safe talking to them?”

Why do so many people react that way? Because the media they watch and read react the same way.

Why do so many Americans - millions - believe our economy has been sick for the last several years? When, in fact, it has been striding ahead.

I’m sure there are many reasons. But one biggie is that the paper they read or the tv network they get news from tells them so. Or goes out of its way to avoid covering any good economic news. Or any positive views from economists. Or it gives good economic news the back of the hand. “Three-hundred thousand new jobs were created last month. However, some economists think this is the quiet before the storm.”

Such outlets can prefer a point of view and still give us something of the opposing view. They could say “Our economy created three-hundred thousand new jobs last month. Economist John Smith believes this is the best news since sex. Economist Sally Jones thinks bad news is sure to follow. We talked to each of them this afternoon...”

But to do this would be to acknowledge that stories have two sides. Which is what too many educators, too many media folks will never do.

My grandad reckoned there are not two sides to an argument. There are three: Yours. The other guy’s. And the right side. I believe about him what Mark Twain boasted about his parents. He grows wiser every year.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

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