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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Finding other news sources can broaden outlook

This is from the Daily Nebraskan, the University of Nebraska newpaper-magazine-website. The author is a former CSN student of mine, Warren Hale. At the end is an e-mail link. Let him know where you read it, honesty your views on the subject and say hello from me, Professor Lynch:



“He who knows the enemy and himself/Will never in a hundred battles be at risk;/He who does not know the enemy but knows himself/Will sometimes win and sometimes lose/”: Sun Tzu, “The Art of Warfare.”
Regularly listening, reading or watching news that only validates your point of view is a lazy and foolish habit. It’s natural to gravitate toward opinions that echo your worldview—after all, birds of a feather flock together. But layering a cocoon of one-sided bias around you does nothing to illuminate controversial ideas. Instead, it encourages divisiveness, misunderstanding and contempt.    
Let’s dispel the black-and-white fallacy — that is, simplifying arguments into only pros and cons, without considering the many shades of grey between — from the start.
Reducing complex issues into a dichotomy is an ancient tactic that fools many, and one that should always be guarded against. Not every American is either a liberal or a conservative. All conservatives do not clamor for another Ronald Reagan, and all liberals do not fawn over Barack Obama.
Athletes know that studying their opponents is an essential element to winning. And yet, 25 percent of Americans get their news only from sources sharing their political point of view, according to a Pew Report issued Sept. 12. Considering only 3/4 of Americans follow the news, this trend is especially unpleasant.
News is information. Not all information is news.
Whether you listen to the radio, read newspapers or watch television for your information, try exploring new avenues. If you’re driving home and Rush Limbaugh is reproaching the Obama administration, switch to NPR during commercials. There is plenty of downtime between Goldline, Carbonite, Lifelock and chipped windshield commercials to give “All Things Considered” a listen. And before Terry Gross exhales some Fresh Air, spend some time following what outrages Glenn Beck that day.
If you still get your news by reading the New York Times, check out The Wall Street Journal once a week.
Television remains the most prevalent source of news, according to the Pew survey. So, if MSNBC is your mainstay, switch to Fox News for a while. And if you can’t get away from O’Reilly’s glare and finger pointing, turn to The Daily Show during commercial break.
Gathering news online is the easiest to control. Compare Al-Jazeera’s front page with that of the BBC’s, or look at what The Huffington Post and The Drudge Report deems most vital.
The Internet — an unstoppable wellspring of information quenching the world’s thirst — was invented 16 years ago. It is ironic that words as misinformation are common currency today. Having access to all the information in the world won’t fix stupid.
In order to make sound arguments, one must make factual premises — namely, the sentence must be true. There are many disagreements concerning what is fact that are oftentimes unwinnable. For example, if somebody says humans are causing global warming, and another says mankind can never undo God’s creation, they should probably just agree to disagree and walk away. There is no reason to continue.
If one party claims abortion kills a person, and another claims abortion kills a fetus, there isn’t a dictionary in the world that could bridge that divide. The wisest warriors keep their blades sheathed sometimes.
Gathering news from limited, agreeing sources is not an easy habit to correct. It may cause your blood pressure to rise. It may even anger you enough to start smoking, or pick up smoking again. But, in order to best protect your principles, it is important to understand what the other side thinks. Once your opponent’s views are known, your opinions, overall, will be easier to defend.
And if you really want to punish those you disagree with — just boycott the products advertised on their shows.
Warren Hale is a senior news-editorial and broadcasting major. Reach him at warrenhale@dailynebraskan.com.



Hoover Dam 75th Anniversary Celebration


 
This Friday night September 17th  Art Lynch will reprise portions of his one man show as Frank Crowe, the engineer who oversaw the construction of a wonder of the modern world, the Boulder Dam. 6:00 PM at the historic Boulder City Theater (only a half hour from downtown LV and the Strip).

 ASCE's History & Heritage Committee Invites You to a Three-Day Event Honoring the Hoover Dam

Come hear how this amazing project was built! Learn about the many engineering firsts employed to create it and the many lessons learned over the project's life-span. The celebration starts with an evening reception on Wednesday, October 20, for all symposium attendees.

The symposium kicks off Thursday, October 21 and runs through Friday, October 22 with Professor Donald C. Jackson as the Keynote Speaker. Professor Jackson is an expert on the history of technology and has authored several books on dams. He will introduce the two-day program with a discussion on the relationship of politics and dam safety to the approval of the original Boulder Dam Canyon Project Act.

Other presentations will discuss various studies related to advances made in concrete technology, performance of spillways, seismic engineering and construction management.

Click read more below for additional information and details: