Imagine that a news reporter is coming to your house to do a report on you.
They plan on interviewing your friends, your family members, your employers, and your coworkers in an effort to portray a fair and balanced picture of you. Moreover, in the name of being objective, scientifically rigorous, and intellectually honest, they decide to interview a few old rivals, a couple of former enemies, and 1-2 of your ex-girlfriends/ex-boyfriends.
This news story about your life would then be broadcast all over the world ensuring that people everywhere based their perception of you on whatever narrative the reporter decided to go with.
How would that make you feel? Would you be nervous? If so, why? Is it because you have something to hide or is it because you know how easy it is for people to misinterpret, misinform, miscommunicate, and misunderstand things?
We’ve all heard the Golden Rule before: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Here’s the modern version I think we should apply to all the stories we watch and hear on the news: Think critically about the stories they tell of others in the same way you would want others to think critically about the stories they would tell of you.
If it makes you nervous to imagine a news reporter doing a story on you, then it should make you nervous to imagine placing blind faith in the stories they tell of others. It’s not the news that’s bad. It’s blind faith that’s bad. But every once in awhile, we need to remember that blind faith is self-destructive no matter who we place it in.
Blind faith isn’t just dangerous for fringe cult followers who believe in outlandish things. It’s also dangerous for respectable professionals who uncritically accept the ideologies and narratives espoused by mainstream media.