By Dwayne Phillips

Restoring trust in something called a shared reality won’t be easy. Or will it be so simple that it won’t be easy? Here is a suggestion.

“We’ve lost a shared reality.”

I heard this in a recent presentation. I’m afraid I lost the reference, so I cannot give due credit to the researcher who said this. Some searching shows that several persons over the past several years have stated this in one form or another. I suppose it falls under common knowledge, common sense, or urban myth.

I take this to mean that we have lost trust in the things we read. “The Washington Post reports…” “The New York Times has broken a story that…” “Apple News has a story that…” So? Who cares? Those sources are suspect. So is the Centers for Disease Control, the World Bank, the BBC, and anyone or anything else we mention.

Why? Because they have made their famous mistakes. They have published things that were wrong. They have blatantly lied and been exposed at times. They have lost the trust of the public.

The Weather Channel says it is sunny and hot outside. I walk outside and confirm it. Facts. Easy to confirm. “Hottest July ever.” Well, huh, I can neither confirm nor deny that. Trusted source? There are none of those.

What do we do? Here is a suggestion. I find it simple, but since I am not in the journalism business where salaries are paid by advertising dollars, so I have my doubts about it. Here it is:

Report the news on the news; put editorial on the editorials.

People would know what are facts. People would turn to editorials for interpretations and speculations.

Grab any “news” story from almost any source. It is full of editorial and opinion. What were the facts? Who did what, when, where, and how. The “why” is on the editorial, not in the news.

I find this simple. There must be something else happening for something so simple to restore something so important to be stopped. I don’t know what that something else is.

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Dwayne Phillips

Engineer, computing, consulting, writing, teaching, and a few other things in an effort to make us all better and smarter.