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Sunday Sayings – Being Open Minded and The Press

Refugees and Journalistic Bias

The MOTH and I were discussing the situation of the Tamil Family- the subjects of failed applications for refugee status, in Australia. This, despite country Queensland being their home of many years and the small community of Biloela wanting, and indeed fighting, to keep them in Australia. Federal court injunctions were heard and precedents for Ministerial intervention which had been allowed for others in a similar plight, (by the Home Affairs Minister) were denied for this family.

AS the MOTH is retired, he watches a lot of TV and is exposed to a steady diet of Murdoch influenced press. When presented with information from alternative or independent sources, he tends to dispute the premise of my often opposing argument. That said, our difference of opinion brought up an important point.

If someone wants has overly contrary views or even xenophobic views, is it always our right to convince them otherwise? We can of course, disagree with them, but arguing against them with logic, or other ammunition – isn’t that preventing them from expressing their own view, even if we think it is highly flawed?

If every news report has some subjectivity, how can any of us be so sure that our opinion, or counter argument, has not been formed without bias? Do others have a right to hold an illogical opinion, even if it is seems ridiculous?

Where am I

Keeping an Open Mind

Could we in fact, learn something from listening to their (potentially alien), rationale? Especially if, and this is my Key Point, we should listen to opposing views in order to keep a balanced and open mind?

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CC0 Creative Commons

We might attempt to persuade others with facts, figures and irrefutable evidence, but will it win over their hearts and minds?

Because if we succeed in doing so, aren’t we then becoming oh-so-similar to that one-sided subliminal press story that I am so critical of? The ones that do not present all the facts in an inpartial way, or allow any difference of opinion at all?

To offer a balanced view, one has to offer bits of both sides of the argument, without judgement, don’t they?

BALANCED

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

seeing

Weekly Proverb

Every closed eye is not sleeping and every open eye is not seeing – African Proverb

I feel this proverb has much relevance to today’s thoughts.

Something to Ponder About this Sunday

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22 thoughts on “Sunday Sayings – Being Open Minded and The Press”

  1. I think it’s important to listen to ‘the other side’, however misguided and misinformed we feel they may be. The problem is often unpicking the interest from the words. In our country, people wanting to leave the EU often fear losing their jobs but express themselves as feeling overrun by immigrants. They see under-investment in their communities, and blame the EU for the amount of money the UK pays over each year, rather than the government’s programme of austerity. And you’re right, having a battery of facts and figures at our disposal is no help at all unless our ‘opponent’ feels really listened to. And even this may not be enough. And as for us, those of us who feel we have all the arguments: Perhaps if we listen, we may find that we haven’t got a monopoly on right-thinking. And actually, looking back on conversations over these last three years, we’ve changed more minds by that simple act of listening, and trying to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, than ever we have by clearly presented fact-filled arguments. But have we changed our own minds? Nah! ‘Cos we’re right, see!

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  2. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/06/democracy-overboard-rupert-murdochs-long-war-on-australian-politics
    Did you just read that from your fellow banana-bender, Amanda ? I still have a soft spot for him. I’ve just posted that link to my Dutch blogging friend SpinningAnna, after reading her post froma brief trip to Edinburgh.
    I feel that you’ve reached the point in your questioning where you’re beginning to disappear up your own fundament – sorry to be vulgar – inasmuch as the going ’round-and-’roundness of it all has my head spinning.
    [grin]
    Imnsho, it is not possible to change anyone’s opinion these days; and attempts to do so will not only fail but almost certainly cause friction. That’s the nature of today’s Web-fed culture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, M-R- it arose purely out of my conversation with the MOTH – not the banana bender. BTW, Who IS that?
      I take your point about the going roundness in my post! I think you are right, as it reflects that I have begun to question my own principles! Friction was the result, but friction is okay in small doses if it illuminates a window through which one can learn something. Would you agree?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I just checked the link and I see it was ‘Kevin 07.’ A little bit ironic for him to throw stones at the Murdoch press whilst he did a pretty good job of destroying his own party after Julia took office. Even so, he is worryingly correct about where the press bias is heading.
      P.S. I will endeavour to phrase my arguments/posts in a more ‘linear’ fashion to prevent any further exacerbation of the literal “vertigo,” I inflicted upon you! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Human migration has always been an inevitable aspect of our world, and it always will present challenges to any established populations. Currently, here in the U.S., we’re facing incredible difficulties with mass waves of immigrants arriving mainly from Central America. Of course, our (faux) president’s solution is juvenile, xenophobic and cost-ineffective.

    But I’m quick to note that part of the problem is with the U.S. itself, and it’s twofold.

    One is the U.S. appetite for illegal narcotics. Americans generally have more disposable income than average people elsewhere, even in other industrialized nations. Drug cartels in Latin America realized this decades ago and began exploiting it. That’s why I don’t have much sympathy for drug addicts. Indeed, it’s sad they’ve grown addicted, but those cravings are one cause of the violence that plagues much of Latin America.

    Another key element for the U.S. is our leadership’s diplomatic relationships (or lack thereof) with Latin America. The U.S. began interfering with Latin American political infrastructure in the 1950s, when our military incited a coup against Guatemala’s then-president. Because he was a leftist, U.S. intelligence feared he might also be a communist and could bring Soviet alliance into the Western Hemisphere. The Cold War was already in motion, and the space race was about to start. Ever since then, Guatemala has been in the grips of political and economic chaos; including a civil war that lasted 36 years – the longest such conflict in modern history. In the 1970s, the U.S. continued interfering with Latin America, which further destabilized the region. We’re paying the price for that now, as criminal gangs fight for control in countries like Honduras and Nicaragua.

    Thus, the U.S. is essentially responsible for the violence in Central America that forces many of its people to flee. Political and social instabilities have always undermined a nation’s security. Presently, we’re witnessing more mass human migrations, as climate change disrupts food production, compromises the integrity of drinkable water and alters millennia-old weather patterns. People will relocate to areas where they feel they’ll have a more secure future. And that, in turn, will incite xenophobia and unrest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Alejandro for being some generous with your commentary. I found it very, very interesting.
      Even on a financial level, one would think Trump would reform his policy, or is it just his attitude/directive and not actual policy?
      On the drug trade, really I think something has to give soon and it is likely to be the mental health of a large section of the populace. It seems like an insurmountable problem as there is so much money making involved in the drug trade and not all by users.
      I have some sympathy for addicts but not that much when they voluntarily choose to take the drugs knowing they are addictive. Why disrespect yourself and create a problem? Add to this, the purely American gun culture. Such a volatile mix.
      I was a little bit aware of what some call American imperialism in central/Latin America but not the current situation. Ongoing conflicts are worrisome for the future which seems bleak.
      And then you mention issues of food security, drinkable water supplies and climate change and it seems we are doomed. Trump could do so much more if he chose to….Such wasted opportunities.

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      1. Short of divine intervention or a catastrophic personal health crisis, I doubt Trump will ever change his policies regarding immigration and international diplomacy. His infinite arrogance won’t allow it. He’s been a self-styled oligarchical-type businessman for most of his life. He’s never really known what it’s like to struggle. And since he grew up swaddled in the ambiance of wealth and privilege, he’s accustomed to getting his way. For decades people here often said we need a business person to be elected as Chief Executive. Well, we have one now – and not a good business person, from what tax records insinuate – and he’s proved obstinate and unyielding. He’s used to running his company HIS way, and any doubters are exorcised swiftly. We’re witnessing that now, as people are leaving his administration quicker than people leaving a country and western bar that’s run out of beer.

        We’ve also seen this type of upending in the corporate world. We used to have an airlines called Braniff, which operated from 1928 to 1982. Towards the end of their existence they encountered funding problems due to rapid expansion and increasing fuel costs. A number of high-level executives saw the looming demise. But, if they dared to speak up, they were quickly dispatched to human resources to collect their last paycheck. Then, when everything collapsed, employees found themselves without a paycheck on that final day. At headquarters in Dallas, Texas, many took retribution by destroying thousands of dollars’ worth of company equipment.

        As for the drug epidemic here in the U.S., government has spent more time and money arresting and incarcerating people than providing counseling and treatment. That’s resulted in the U.S. having the highest prison population in the developed world; about 2 million people. In the 1980s alone, the crack-cocaine epidemic killed an estimated 10 million people. That includes everything: gang-related violence, drug overdoses, drug-related suicides, etc. That’s roughly 10 million people! In a single decade! The current opioid epidemic has its roots in that calamity. Indeed, such a waste.

        Still, as a recovering alcoholic, I espouse little sympathy for drug addicts. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve driven intoxicated, and it’s almost a miracle I never caused a wreck. In the 1990s, I worked with a man who was struck head-on by a drunk driver. That driver was killed, but my colleague amazingly survived; albeit with series injuries. I finally got a grip on myself and watch my alcohol intake closely now.

        I’m certain you can deduce that I get very passionate about these matters. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And you have every right to be passionate, Alejandro.
        It sounds like you are also an excellent advocate for controlling one’s alcohol addictions! Different people react in different ways to traumatic events so congrats for turning the corner. I have seen drugs, including alcohol, destroy personalities and lives . It is sad that addiction appears to fulfills a need that life itself can’t fulfill for these folk, . However bad things get, they will only get worse if refuge is sought in substance or medication abuse. The problem that these people are running away from, will most likely still be there when you sober up, won’t it?
        As for Trump he is as you describe but as an Australian, I don’t feel I can really comment too much. In a cruel sense, perhaps he is the President some Americans had to have in order to wake up?

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  4. A little story about the value of listening and an open mind. Last time I was in the US, all but one of my nieces and nephews confided in me that they voted for Hillary and each of them added ‘but don’t tell my mother’. I asked one nephew how such a thing had happened. His answer—more or less—was that he had moved north from Oklahoma and had had the chance to listen to lots of different news media and lots of differing points of view.

    As for the Tamil family. I saw Dutton running through all the ways the family had been told they weren’t refugees. On closer investigation, he stretched the truth—big time. For example, he said the High Court ruled they weren’t refugees. In reality, the High Court declined the review the case. Hope you’re also keeping tabs on the consistently bad behaviour shown by Federal District Court Judge Sandy Street who has knocked back so many refugee cases and is now being investigated himself.

    Hope you appreciate an unusually long reply from me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely do appreciate the longer reply, Peggy. I love long comments.
      It sounds like media in US has bias on a geographic basis too! At least there is a different voice in some parts of the country. We don’t seem to have that her anymore.
      Thanks so much for giving your opinion on the Tamil family. Dutton absolutely stretched the truth as did the commercial news services and worst of all, the ABC! Worst because I now expect Dutton to stretch the truth to his benefit. Yet young people in his electorate, (neighbouring mine), love him! Go figure! Is this the result of media bias? I am not keeping tabs on Sandy Street but will now watch out for the outcome of that investigation. Isn’t there a troubling problem also with the Republicans stacking the high Court in US as well?

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  5. That’s such a hard topic Amanda. Most times I try to see the oppositions side when opinions differ. Being predominantly pro on the side of anyone wanting a better life who is seeking that life in Australia (as I myself did 43 years ago, and anti long stays in refugee camps, I frequently am shouted down by the xenophobic amongst my friends and acquaintances. On the other hand, sometimes I’ll gently play the devils advocate with the extreme left views of certain members of my family. Again I get shouted down, and I wonder why people just can’t take the emotion out of their argument and try and see both sides. Surely a middle ground is reasonable. But as long as the press push for xenophobia there’s no hope.

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    1. Indeed the current press bias narrows the possibility of changing any xenophobic opinions in the near future! Even today, I heard a heavily sarcastic and vindinctive report on the opposition leader’s person, (not policy), that bordered on something from a Womens weekly gossip column. And with Peter Costello at the helm of Nine – what chance could we ever have of hearing any independent views? It is so sad that the public are unaware of the drivel!
      Now that’s my little rant.
      I think that to understand those that oppose us, in opinion, we first have to listen to them carefully, paraphraae to check understanding and to a certain extent, accept them as they are, with what we see as flawed thinking and all. Emotions running high in a discussion might be a sign that someone is feeling that they haven’t been listened to. When emotions enters a political equation, it is hard to maintain a methodical clear response. Knee jerk comments that are better left unsaid often are spat out in anger or frustration and at times, I have been guilty of that, as well at times. I think a lack of empathy for others and selfishness the traits that bothers me the most in others. That belief that some ‘pig’s are more equal than others is despicable. I wonder why people are so threatened by compromise, whether on the right or the left of politics.

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  6. You know my take on this, Amanda. There is nothing more dangerous than a closed mind. I can feel very strongly about my point of view and be certain I am in the right. I had this same conversation with my son who has differing views. He said that not one person has ever said to him, “why do you think this way about this subject and been willing to listen. I chose to listen as he explained how he saw things. I responded with “I see you have valid points that I can agree with, just not the process of how they are handled” So in essence, I chose to see this differently than you. End of conversation. He wants a debate. I see both sides and chose to maintain my stand quietly. It isn’t worth losing a family member. My sister wants everyone to think like she does. Everyone else is wrong. I see it like fishermen in a boat. You have 5 that believe one way and one that believes the other. So the 5 go to their end of the boat and want nothing to do with the lone holdout. Guess what happens to the boat? It goes down with all aboard. Time for balance and unity. There is common ground. We just haven’t decided to look for it yet. Not sure this makes sense but we have a lot of antagonism in the family because of politics. My sister thought anyone who voted the way she did not, should be shot. A little extreme for my taste as she including my son. It’s really heartbreaking. Wish you the best. I stay away from the news, It’s slanted.

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    1. Heartbreaking that politics can divide a family, Marlene. But that was a fantastic analogy of the outcomes of disagreement. We CAN all find common ground – and balance. Some need more examples of how to find it, and what to say/ how to approach the discussion in a way that respect another’s opinion. If the person who argues and resorts to anger, has never been exposed to that level of empathy and respect for others, will find it is hard to come up with it on their own. I feel this touches on deeper issues than just the bias of the press adn family disagreements: –
      – it involves the desire to have an easy and quick fix to differences of opinion.
      Quicker to dispose of, or dispel those or that which question one’s authority or position, on an issue, than sit down and have a longer, respectful discussion which entails hard work in listening, really listening and finding the narrow common ground. Such discussions also need both sides to be fairly confident in their own selves to be able to admit when they may be or are wrong – or at least when the other side is right. If a person has low self esteem, admitting when you might be wrong is a hard call! Surely there isn’t so many people with low self-esteem? Perhaps there is?
      I know you have to be careful in what you say, but the quick fix encompasses the “shoot those who don’t agree” attitude, which borders on totalitarianist aggression. Remember the Nazis, African or Middle Eastern dictators like Hussein or North Korean leaders etc who quell opposition by shooting the opponents. Problem fixed – permanently.
      But where does this end? Certainly not in a peaceful solution. Anger is such an interesting emotion. It can override all sensibilities and incite violent action in those susceptible. A slower, calmer approach that caresses the fragile person’s self esteem might take longer, but as you showed, it also conveys respect, which in turn values the other person and gives them the right to disagree. Then it becomes a positive experience even if there was disagreement. If the person feels valued, for their opinion, they may be open to finding common ground.
      America’s melting pot philosophy/policy brought the country together in the twentieth century, and was an amazing coalescing phenomenon, but now the collective ego that has mushroomed out of that in America and many other countries, need to be checked – but how?

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      1. Wish I had an answer. I did have a VERY long talk with my sister. She would never hurt anyone but her mouth shoots off before her brain She drove a city bus before she retired and I was always afraid that her mouth would get her killed. I state my case calmly and try to help people see a different way to look at things but contrast is inevitable. The only one you can change is yourself.

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  7. A very interesting topic well expressed, with good points! Also liked the proverb very much. And yes, everyone has a right to their own opinion, which they have probably formed through different influences in their lives and through their own rationale. Usually things aren’t so black-and-white that there isn’t room for grey interpretations. 🙂 But personally, I find that as years go by, I become more and more convinced that my opinions are right! 😀 This probably happens to most people?

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    1. Thanks Snow for your input- that is a good point that you become more convinced of a certain opinion, as you get older. Perhaps that’s as a result of more wider knowledge base and more experiences? Me, on the other hand seem to go in the opposite direction as I age. I become more ambivalent and I can somehow see how people have come to totally different conclusions than myself, although I still may disagree with them. In disagreeing, I can still understand how they might have reached that particular opinion. This doesn’t always help though – sometimes ambivalence is a curse and makes decision making difficult.

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