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Dare to study the other side

| June 25, 2010 9:00 PM

Everybody's got opinions, and thank goodness, they're free to express them.

Is it too much to hope that someday, more opinions will have been derived after careful analysis of multiple sources with differing perspectives? Probably, but we're going to anyway.

A measure of a truly inquisitive, secure person is how far she or he is willing to go to find information on a controversial subject, like Nazi flags flying in Coeur d'Alene neighborhoods or this paper's top story Monday about a raging end-of-life debate.

So, how far are you willing to go? For the sake of today's exercise, let's stick to the political arena, seeing as how there are one or two topical issues bouncing around there. Just for fun, we contacted a leading member of both major political parties in Kootenai County, and we do not mean the Haves and Have Nots. We asked them to recommend a news source that leans firmly in their party's political direction.

In the Republican corner stood Brad Corkhill, the former longtime county GOP chairman. In the Democratic corner stood Thom George, his party's county leader. For once, Brad and Thom agreed on something: There's not any particular site or source that stands as a pillar of their party's political or philosophical perspectives.

George, reached by phone in a car in Washington, D.C. - where unlike the Washington of the West, people can drive and talk on cell phones with impunity - said the two most famous are probably the Drudge Report (conservative) and The Huffington Post (liberal). If he had to recommend just one reliable information source, George suggested CNN. He admitted it's kind of boring, but unlike what some other "media" purport, it is fair and accurate.

Both Corkhill and George profess that greater understanding comes from reviewing multiple sources. We emphatically agree, which leads us to our own humble recommendation.

In pursuit of well-informed opinions, seek out some perspectives that make you uncomfortable. Analyze those perspectives and your reaction to them. If you love the "news" on Fox News, devote a couple hours of viewing to MSNBC. If you thrive on Huffington political paraphernalia, roll up your intellectual shirt sleeves and spend a couple hours at drudgereport.com.

When you limit your perspective-gathering to whatever merely reinforces what you already believe, you're not just weakening your arguments. You're cheating yourself.

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