A decision is only as good as the information upon which it is based is so axiomatic as to be trite. It's also true. Now, there's no such thing as being able to have all information before making a decision and decisions must be made based on the best information available.
That's also axiomatic, trite, and true. We are all muddling through as best we can with what information we have and while knowing we can never know everything but we have to decide based on what we do know. Such is life. We all do it. We have to do it to get through the day.
But what happens when you can no longer trust that the information you are being given is accurate? What happens when it is impossible to evaluate if you have any, let alone the majority, of the information you need to make an informed decision? What then?
I was talking to Dear Friend last night, who is nearly as Always Online and as much of a political junkie as I am, and I asked him what he thought of the Denver shooting. He said he was ignoring it because he does not have the energy to Zapruder every bit of information he sees.
He simply no longer can care to go frame by frame through video and pictures and read all the conflicting information and try to reach an informed conclusion. This is especially true when there's no way of knowing if all the information is even being released.
His mother is in her late 80's and prides herself on being an engaged, informed citizen. She watches PBS news every night. She reads the newspaper every day. She pays attention to the debates. And he is constantly mentioning matters about which she has never heard.
Her response is generally oh that can't be true because I would have read about it! And he said he feels like a crazed conspiracy theorist because he has to tell her that no, she hasn't because the paper is choosing not to report it. He's given up because it's not worth it.
How many things have we been told that turn out to be false days, weeks, months later? Breonna Taylor was murdered in a no knock raid! Then it turns out that there are at least claims that, in fact, the police knocked. Which is true? And why did that take months to get out?
Pick your topic. If you want some true horror, go read Retraction Watch for awhile. Go read up on p-hacking and the replicability crisis and the FBI labs scandals and the sheer falsification of data in studies on minor things like cancer treatments. Believe Science!
Then there's my bete noire of Sources Say. I not only loathe Sources Say to my DNA because I am no longer a bitchy 13 year old gossip, I loathe it because it removes my ability to evaluate the information. How did this person obtain that information? What is their bias?
No, I'm not just going to trust the person using Sources Say. Why would I do that? Why would I do that when at no point have any of the people using Sources Say lost any credibility when their Sources Say scoops turn out to be untrue. Pick whichever one you like here.
Hell, even my screeching for original documents is somewhat pointless. Okay here are the documents! Except we redacted all these parts Because National Security. Months later the redactions are removed and National Security appears to mean it makes us look bad.
Here's a poll about whatever, look how bad it is for person pollster doesn't like! Where's the cross tabs? Hey, the cross tabs don't actually support what the headline is. STUDIES SHOW THAT and when you read the article, not the headline, it's four people doing one thing.
It is to the point it is nearly impossible to determine if the information being put out is accurate and even if it appears to be so, will it still be accurate 72 seconds, minutes, day, weeks, months from now. And that is destroying the ability to make decisions.
Now, instead of making a decision based on information, decisions are being made based on tribal signifiers and wish casting for desired outcomes. This is bad. This is incredibly bad. It is also disorienting. I try to go with information, not gut but how can I?
How can I when I no longer have any way of knowing if I'm even being given information, let alone accurate information, and not simply bits and bobs of what someone else wishes to be seen. It eats at my sense of self that I can't *try* to be objective. I may fail, but I do try.
I have no solutions. I have only cri de couer. I want to know, to the best of the limits of human ability to present it, what the most accurate information is. I may make a horrible decision based on that information, but at least it's an attempt to an objective understanding.
Now? I pays my money and I takes my chances. I despair. I despair.
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