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What is your source of news?

From This Perch

My five year old grandson recently informed his parents that actually Santa is a boy and Santa Claus is a girl.

My daughter was tempted to correct him, but then thought better of it and went along with the idea of the two characters.

Yes, I mentioned to her, what were you going to do, correct a fiction with another fiction?

“Fake news”…even from the North Pole!

In the real world, getting the facts straight has become one of our biggest challenges, I think, mainly because there are so many sources of information out there.

And to make the problem worse, a person can pretty much pick and choose which news source to tune into.

Liberal perspective? Choose news that seems like music to your ears. Conservative? Same deal.  

It might feel good to hear what you want to hear, but with a closed information loop, how can we really know if we are getting the straight scoop?

I did not vote for President-Elect Trump. This was not because I disagreed with his political perspective. I am not even sure what that perspective is.

No, it was because I experienced him as consistently mean-spirited and disrespectful during the primary and general election. I couldn’t imagine someone like that serving as our President.

Some in the Native American world use the word “moy” for a person who appears to be a boy in an old man’s body. In that view, a “moy” speaks with a loud voice so that folks think he is a man, but in reality he has not learned to think of anyone but himself.

And just like that, by inference, I have called the President-Elect a “moy.” That is a form of name calling, the very thing the President-Elect seemed to enjoy doing while campaigning.

It’s probably contagious, and I don’t want to catch it.

So I notice it and remind myself that this is not helpful.  

Instead, I accept that Donald J. Trump will be the next president of the United States. My President. And I hope he succeeds in skillfully addressing the many challenges facing our nation.

He does, however, bear careful watching, and the watching begins with getting the facts straight as the Trump administration goes about governing.

If we, collectively, don’t get our facts straight, I get the image of many people trying to navigate the same complex highway system using very different maps.

What is your source of news? Is it a closed information loop?

Years ago, there was a TV show called “Dragnet,” featuring the actor Jack Webb, who played the role of an all-business police detective Sgt. Joe Friday.

As he often said when questioning someone during an investigation,  "All we want are the facts, ma’am.”

True for all of us, isn’t it?

Editor’s note: Keith Rodli is a retired attorney and mediator. He lives in the town of River Falls with his wife, Katharine Grant. His column “From This Perch” will appear regularly on the Observer’s opinion pages.

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