It is not news that our media has been corrupted and is not reporting in the way we wish they would, however, it is still useful to be watchful of the ways in which they seek to weave their narratives. It is common to find a phrase that becomes popular among media outlets because it explains a story in an effective way that also bolsters their narrative. One such phrase was “mostly peaceful protests” (see Essay #4). It helped the media report on the BLM protests that happened over the summer and into the autumn, and hand wave at the very disturbing violence that was present in some of these protests. A new phrase that I have encountered is: “there is no evidence”.
“There is no evidence” is a perfect phrase because it is not eye catching unless you are looking for such phrases. It is a phrase uttered by those who wish you to accept something as fact and to not come to your own conclusions. In a world where anti-vax and flat-earthers exist, it can be very tempting to try to squash or discredit such hypotheses before they crop up. To do so, however, is NOT the role of journalists/media. They are merely in charge of reporting the facts as they see them and writing opinion pieces that are not instructions of how to think, but rather expositions of interesting opinions.
I have seen the phrase commonly used in relation to stories about mail-in balloting. “There is no evidence that mail-in balloting has integrity concerns”. Well… how do you know there is no evidence? When you take the time to look at it, that claim becomes more ridiculous. It would be like me saying “There is no god”. How do I know there is no god? I do not know this. Such a statement is a belief and should be framed as such: “I believe that there is no god”. The media should be saying “we have seen no evidence that there are any issues with the integrity of mail-in ballots.”
You are allowed to think for yourself. You are allowed to believe what you wish. You are allowed to vote for whom you wish. Do not let an orthodoxy suppress you.
P.S. I personally am not overly worried about mail-in ballots, but why would I need evidence to be worried. Evidence is useful of course, but a lack of evidence does not eliminate possible outcomes of future events. They are just deemed less likely.
P.P.S. Also why is there “no evidence”? I grew up being told “do not mail cash”. I am not sure how widespread this cautionary lesson is accepted, but the general idea behind it is that when you mail items that are obviously valuable, you introduce risk into what is an otherwise secure mailing process. Mail-ballot envelopes are labeled with a logo that indicates “Official Election Mail”. Like I said before, I am not particularly worried, but I am also incredulous at the idea that people have no reason to be worried. Every time a new structure to balloting is proposed, it is argued against because of security concerns. Shifting a large proportion of balloting from in-person to mail-in should be enough to make you ask some questions: “Will that be okay?” “Are we prepared for that?”. Ugh, whatever. I think I have made my point.
P.P.P.S. To all the readers who may read the final paragraph and feel as if I am encouraging people to disregard critiques on what they think, you are probably correct that some may hear that. I would prefer to live in a society where freedom of thought is encouraged, but I understand that it comes with its consequences as literally any freedom does. I would rather have flat-earthers and anti-vaxxers than live in a society in which truth is determined by a few and delivered to the masses. In concert, I would also encourage people to seek alternatives to their truths and always question their beliefs.
P.P.P.P.S. There are ways to correctly use the phrase “no evidence”. You just must be specific. Example: “The study showed no evidence that the Covid-19 vaccine caused autism”. This phrase has specified that the scope is just the study and does not purport that the outcome for which there is no evidence is impossible.
- The Unmentionables
- Short Takes: Martha’s Vineyard, Pronouns, Gender Identity
- The Crumbling Case for Abortion Bans
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