If you read headlines only, you won’t get context or even the idea of it. Headlines are to get attention and they sometimes don’t even connect to the story that follows. Headlines are a point of view of the media source. They exist to get clicks.
If you have worked with financial reporting you will have quickly discovered that numbers by themselves are meaningless. $10,000,000 is a nice number. If the context were my bank account, it would be spectacularly good. If it were Apple’s bank account, spectacularly bad. It isn’t the number that matters. It must have context to have any meaning at all.
In the fall of 1967 I saw a young comedian on stage at my university. George Carlin went on to an amazing career. One of his special acts later, talked about context. In sports of all places. It deals with relationships. “Here are some partial score – Notre Dame 14. Yankees 5, and in a close one, Lakers 110.”
Meaning lives in the relationship, not in the numbers.
If you are travelling around the media or social media you will find many, (nearly all?,) reports that provide no context. Covid lends itself to that because there are so many possible numbers to present. Deaths in September were X. Interesting in its way but it would have been more useful if they had indicated X was bigger than the number of deaths in September 2020.
Why would they avoid that? Context leads meaning. If there is context there are automatically questions. The first question anyone with an IQ above room temperature would ask, “Wait a minute. Vaccines are everywhere, how come there are more deaths?” A question to which there is no answer that fits the narrative.
I assume that anything presented without context is done to convince me of something that is not completely true. If you take some detail out of its reasonable context, you can use the truth to lie. The best of all worlds for some.
If you see a tipoff for a lie or half truth stop paying attention. The life-simplifying advantage is you don’t ever need to watch network or cable news. You might miss a little, but if you have trusted sources on the internet you’ll find it.
Context matters more than numbers.
Develop trusted sources.
Use common sense. The spectacular is seldom completely true.
Interpreted expert opinion is valueless.
There is nothing that demands the media tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Similarly, there is nothing that requires you to take them seriously.
Watch Flip Wilson – George Carlin – Funny News It’s a three part series.
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