Understanding extremes

Someone said a long time ago, that understanding extremes, can give us the ability to see things the way that they really are…

”There was a fight between two men near the bar…”

”There is information, that two different groups were engaged in a fight near the local bar”.

”We have information of numerous people engaging in something that looks like a fight, maybe more a riot”.

”We confirm that the escalation of the conflict clearly can be qualified as a riot”.

”If someone asked me to describe the favorite word of mass-media I would surely point to the word escalation”.

Every conflict, every single riot escalates. A single group became a crowd, and the crowd became society. The question is, is this escalation real, or is it just a mirage stuck in the heads of journalists. Point of view… Our viewpoint is influenced by a few key factors. The major ones are: our beliefs, and the information that we possess. That’s the point: information. Can it even be provided in an objective way? If it might be, why do we have so much manipulation in the mass-media? Do politics matter so much for journalists, that they are even willing to cut out news in a way which fits their beliefs?

…is formed by your side…

Let’s take an example. We have some kind of protest/demonstration thing here. Let’s say, that the more conservative parties organized march that run through the city. Let’s say that the more liberal part isn’t really happy to hear that. Let’s say, that the few incidents occurred during the political gathering.

The Conservative Post

I think that some kind of new beautiful tradition appeared on our political scene. It’s hard to count the number of people that came to the Patriotic March, but if I had to give an approximation I would estimate thousands here. We did not see just young people yesterday. I can endlessly point out families that took part in it, as well as single people of any age. A few movements decorated the march with banners and flares, not to be outdone by the president’s beautiful speech.

The Leftist Post

I think that it’s hard to describe what happened yesterday. A xenophobic protest, or rather riot, escalated in the heart of the city. It’s hard to count the number of people that took part in this grim event in our nation, but it’s clear that it was hard to point out any people that were not engaged in any far-right/criminal groups. The rough crowd demolished a few stores, as well as used some banners with xenophobic content. I don’t really think that president knew what he was taking part in, as the event was described as ”patriotic”.

…and your beliefs

Surely I would have been able to describe this event if I had picked a real one… But I don’t want to do it. I want to simply point out something that may seem a little strange: both descriptions are correct. The march really took place, as did the accidents. The flares and the banners were present, as was the president. Saying that one of the descriptions is manipulation would be a misuse of the word “manipulation”. Both articles describe a real event, but they are influenced by the journalist’s attitude about it.

Vicious circle

But if our beliefs are based (as I said at the beginning) on the news we are provided with, how can we separate the facts from attitudes? Reading both articles can give us an image that is centered, but still, maybe one side is right, and other used cheap manipulation? Someone said a long time ago, that understanding extremes, can give us the ability to see things the way that they really are. But are these articles really written by people from the extreme ends of the political spectrum? Sure, there are some political influences in these articles, but are they the same for both magazines? Is the only way to separate ideology from the facts by using a huge dose of cynicism? Is there no other way to avoid believing that a single fight was a huge riot? Are we sentenced to this kind of media?

Editing: Anna Smolarek
Proofreading: Natalie Menezes
Graphic: Olga Then