A Straw Man Constitutes his Claims

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Our friend Jerry over at Grumpy’s Grumblings has another outstanding post out today. Here is an excerpt. Please continue to his site with the link I’ve provided below. Thanks Jerry!

While I esteem Quin Hillyer as an insightful logician and adept writer—and especially as a fellow Never-Trumper—I feel compelled to take issue with an opinion piece he recently wrote for the Washington Examiner. The article challenged Lester Holt’s (anchor for NBC Nightly News) assertion that “Regard for truth must regain a foothold in our society, so that we can weather the storm of tomorrow’s calamities, tomorrow’s pandemics.”

Hillyer wrote, “He [Holt] said that [above statement] in the context of asserting that it is part of the media’s job to ‘help our audiences understand what our role [the role of journalists] is in a healthy democracy.’” Hillyer then—rather openly and brazenly—began building his straw man, as follows:

What Holt really was doing was saying that the media should be the arbiters of truth. But that’s wrong. Especially because so many within that selfsame media are so intent on the idea that there is a “my truth” and a “your truth,” what this means in practice is that the media herd takes its own “truth” and attempts to make it conventional wisdom. From there, it further confuses “its truth” for the truth — the real, unalterable kind.

Holt is wrong. The journalist’s job is not to determine what the truth is, in the ideal sense. The journalist’s job — or at least the “straight news” journalist’s job, the one that is not supposed to represent the reporter’s opinion — is to present accurate facts with evidence. Facts and truth are not the same things. Reporters should be tradesmen in the trenches relaying facts, within reasonable and indisputable context, not professional ethicians divining truth of any kind, whether “their” truth or “the” truth.

Hillyer built his entire case on his assertion that “Holt… was saying that the media should be the arbiters of truth.” But is that really what Lester Holt said? Here’s a key portion of Holt’s commentary: “The idea that we [journalists] should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in. That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time and attention.”

To continue reading, please click here: Grumpy’s Grumblings

8 comments

  1. I went to Grumpy’s site and a popup from something called asend wanted to chat. The only way I could get rif of it was ger off his blog site. So much for reading anything from Grumpy!

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      1. Thanks Neil. I’ll relay that to him. I think he does look at the comments. But I’ll check

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  2. Thanks for posting. And that includes thanks to Grumpy.

    I take Grumpy and Lester Holt to be arguing that the media should give be giving us the information that helps us make sense of the world, rather than padding it with too much unimportant chatter and opinion. And I agree.

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  3. Jeff, Jerry, of course the Arkansas legislature voted 72 to 21 to allow creationism to be taught as science in public schools. They might argue the sun does not set in the west. And, dragons are dinosaurs that walked among humans will be next up for science. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My blog partner Greg would have a field day with that Arkansas law Keith! The aversion to science and data never ceases to amaze

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      1. I can respect the Amish. At least they practice their beliefs.

        But the Bible belt creationists — if they were consistent, they would not drive cars, use smart phones, fly on airplanes.

        Liked by 1 person

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