WTVM Editorial 10/31/18: Critical thinking

WTVM Editorial 10/31/18: Critical thinking

(WTVM) - If you’re tired of hearing news stories or political statements that make you angry, anxious, confused or overly emotional, you do have a way to fight it: it’s called critical thinking.

If you were in school in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, chances are you learned about critical thinking and how important it is.

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze an argument, statement or position and apply rational tests to determine its accuracy.

Critical thinking is asking yourself, does this come from a credible source?

Is the statement made by someone with a biased point of view?

Is the statement at all logical?

Is the statement complete, or does it purposely leave out important facts?

Is the statement based merely on a personal attack?

Does the statement come from an expert or someone you just personally like, such as a celebrity?

And most importantly, does the statement or argument pass the common-sense test?

The answers to these questions will help you determine whether the statement, or story, is legitimate.

Critical thinking is a very valuable skill, needed in almost every facet of life, which is why it’s a shame it’s not often taught in school anymore.

If more of us took a minute to evaluate the statements we hear, most fake news would not be so quickly accepted as gospel, then spread like wildfire on social media.

Unfortunately, it’s too easy to simply react emotionally, thanks to the constant pressure to “like”, “comment” or “share” what we see.

Here is the most important thing to remember about critical thinking: If a statement is designed solely to play on your emotions, that’s a clue you need to dig below the surface.

Use your critical thinking skills. Most of all, use your God-given common sense.

Because if ever there was a time for critical thinking to make a comeback...it’s now.

By Holly Steuart | October 16, 2018 at 1:05 PM EST - Updated October 16 at 1:05 PM

(WTVM) - Maybe you saw the epic Oval Office meeting between rapper/designer and self-proclaimed genius Kanye West and President Trump.

If not, click here or search for it on or on You Tube. Watch it. See what you think of it. This is just one opinion.

Most politicians would be afraid to let an unscripted meeting with such an outspoken and opinionated artist as Kanye be shared on camera, in real-time with no filters.

Kanye talked about not being trapped by racism, and about needing to bring more manufacturing jobs to inner cities and ways to address Chicago’s murder epidemic, all worthy topics.

Kanye also talked about other, more esoteric ideas, like a prototype plane and building what he called the “flyest” cars.

Trump listened to the whole thing. If citizens want transparency, well, the cameras were invited in to the Oval Office for all of it, so there it was.

CNN called the meeting “a disaster, sad, odd, and attention-seeking”.

CNN analyst Nia-Malika Henderson called it “Trump’s black people meeting” and was dismissive of the moment.

The White House had billed it as a meeting to discuss (among other things) “urban revitalization, new workforce training programs, the record highs in African American employment, the creation of manufacturing jobs, ideas from Trump’s meeting with African American pastors, as well as potential future inmate clemencies, and addressing the massive violent crime surge in Chicago."

Those are all very important issues and it was an ambitious agenda.

Critics of Kanye’s freestyle opinions can rightly argue that the rapper ping-ponged from topic to topic, without clearly expressing - or even finishing - every idea.

But it’s also fair to point out that Kanye is a one-of-a-kind artist whose methods of expression are as unique as he is.

There’s also something news reports didn’t mention.

Besides the mesmerizing monologue from Kanye, the men, along with football legend and activist Jim Brown, had a private lunch.

We don’t know what was said during that part of the event.

It might have been more of the same, but at least it was another opportunity to engage the president on important topics.

Maybe the symbolism of the meeting is being given too much weight in these polarizing times, when “groups” and “tribes” are expected to stay between the lines of identity politics.

Kanye West doesn’t do that. He wears a “Make America Great Again” hat. He’s clearly exercising free speech, and of course, criticizing Kanye is also free speech.

The White House meeting has certainly caused a conversation worth having about race, identity politics, gun violence and even mental health.

Let us know what you think…I’ll share some of your comments in a future editorial.

Listening to each other is always worthwhile, even if nothing changes because of it.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

Copyright 2018 WTVM. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2018 WTVM. All rights reserved.