Much of today’s thought (most prominently journalism) is predicated upon the idea that impartiality is preferable to advocacy. Lazy commentators often place ideas or personalities essentially side-by-side – which can be very helpful when comparing and contrasting reasonable competing ideas, concepts or approaches – even when one makes sense and the other is just plain nuts. Doing so creates a false equivalency and artificially elevates the nutty idea or personality in the process and may even be the purpose behind the supposed impartiality. Watchwords like equality, fairness, tolerance, and objectivity seem to rule the day. And those are fine virtues, in their proper place and perspective.
When I worked in Manhattan, I often commented, only partly in jest, that I preferred the Post to the Times because of its lack of pretense. It didn’t claim to be above the fray. I don’t want to be entirely above the fray either. Where reasonable alternatives exist, my goal is to be generally fair and balanced, even when I have a clear preference. But when I think there is a clear right answer, I won’t be afraid to say so, clearly and without apology.
In our current environment, with alleged experts seemingly everywhere and apparently everything available on-line, credibility is likely to move toward people and sources that demonstrate their understanding of events and situations via predictive accuracy and qualitative understanding rather than by mere claims of objectivity or expertise – by finding, becoming and providing The Signal in the Noise.
Comments are welcome and so is e-mail to thesignlinthenoise at gmail.com.