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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 9:45 PM
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Opinions don't change facts

ON MY SOAPBOX
Opinions don't change facts

This column represents the thoughts and opinions of Jason Hennington. This is not the opinion of the Taylor Press.

Fact: Taylor is growing and more people are moving to the area.

Opinion: Growth is good for Taylor and will bring more prosperity to the community.

Opinion: The growth will destroy the small-town feel of Taylor and will cost the taxpayers more money.

Taylor is growing, which is a true statement. However, when that fact is shared with one of the opinions cited above, some people forget it is a fact. Whether negative or positive, opinions start the narrative of the person who shared the statement.

Whatever that person wants people to think, he or she often attempts to sway them using an argument based on opinion.

Let me try to explain.

Fact: People are complaining about the need for bike lanes in Taylor. City Council members have discussed future bike lanes in public meetings.

The Taylor Press last week ran a story about the council’s discussion on bike lanes and what city leaders want to do moving forward.

If a reader or a constituent shares the story with the statement, “The council is finally listening,” then there is a more positive outlook on the situation.

However, if the attached statement is, “They’ve already wasted money. Why are they talking about it now?” then the situation has a negative spin.

Either way, it’s an opinion. Someone recently asked me, “Why does the paper stir the pot so much?” My answer was, we don’t, we just report the news. But when someone wants to stir the pot, he or she adds their opinion to our impartial coverage and then we have conversations based on opinions and viewpoints that branch off from the facts.

I tell people all the time, there are three ways to get into the paper — do something extraordinary, do something stupid or die.

Two of those could be considered opinion based, but things like getting arrested for drugs at school, sexual engagements with a minor or assaulting someone because they look or sound different are all things that I think we can agree fall under the “something stupid” category. If you do one of these and it gets reported, calling the story a hit piece doesn’t make it less true or a smart decision. Calling and cussing me out or apologizing for the poor decision doesn’t change what happened. It also won’t change the reporting.

The story will still be fact-based and not anyone’s opinion.

That is, until it hits social media. The story doesn’t change, but the perception does.

The old saying is, “Perception is reality.”

Here’s my response, “How can the facts be faced when some conversations are opinion-based?”

I’m going to get off my soapbox now and go see if the Easter Bunny stopped by my house. It probably left more Peeps for the girls and bills for me.

“Now the game is based on narratives and comparisons.

Anything can be true if you get enough people sharing it.”

— Symba, lyrics from G.O.A.T.


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