fact /fakt/noun

a : a thing that is indisputably the case
synonyms: realityactualitycertainty

b : truthveritygospel 
antonyms: lie, fiction

c : a piece of information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article.
synonyms: detail, piece of information, particular, item, specific, element, point, factor, feature, characteristic, ingredient, circumstance, aspect, facetinformation

bi·as /bīəs/noun

a : prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
synonyms:prejudice, partiality, partisanship, favoritism, unfairness, one-sidedness; bigotry, intolerance, discrimination, leaning, tendency, inclination, predilection, casteism

b : in some sports, such as lawn bowling, the irregular shape given to a ball.

be·lief /bəˈlēf/ noun

a : an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

b : something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction.

synonyms: opinion, view, conviction, judgment, thinking, way of thinking, idea, impression, theory, conclusion, notion

synonyms: ideology, principle, ethic, tenet, canondoctrine, teaching, dogma, article of faith, creed, credo

c : trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.

synonyms: faith, trust, reliance, confidence, credence

The Image Disappears, by Salvador Dali

point of view / noun

a : a particular attitude or way of considering a matter.

synonyms: opinion, view, belief, attitude, feeling, sentiment, thoughts; position, perspective, viewpoint, standpoint, outlook





Bias stems from a limited slice of a whole picture. Bias comes from belief, which is not necessarily fact. When belief is not an actual fact, it comes from an imperfect, incomplete, or distorted picture of reality.

Maat, the Egyptian goddess of harmony, truth and justice, shown wearing the feather of truth.

Maat, the Egyptian goddess of harmony, truth and justice, shown wearing the feather of truth.

What if we were able to fill in, clarify, and complete the picture? Our bias would diminish, even approach zero. Would we want to take that step?

In this world of hyper-partisanship, fake news and families torn apart by voting decisions, everyone is claiming possession of the facts. How often have we heard the admonishment: "You need to do some research!"

Yet how much clarity can we achieve when we search for information to confirm our bias?

Do we really want the facts, as we claim to?

For every set of talking points, there is a complementary damning set on the other side. Some talking points, admittedly, are more accurate than others. But on a whole, we are awash in one-sided memes, apple-to-orange comparisons, straw-man distortions of the opposing side, generalizations and a very murky picture of reality. Context has ducked out the back door. Bias has crept in.

And then we end up in our echo chambers sharing slanted, incomplete information with each other.

Each one of us comes to the point where we must ask ourselves the question: Do we really want the whole truth? Or do we just want to be right? Do we want to dig deeper, or do we just want to be outraged? Do we want to make the world a better place, or do we just want to stage an epic factual take-down of our brother-in-law, causing him to renounce his prior beliefs and agree with us?

If the answer is that we want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, what's the next step?

Awareness and inquiry. Being aware of our own bias, belief and point of view. Being curious to discover what part of reality does not conform to our belief. Being willing to acknowledge when there is not enough information to confirm our belief. And being willing to live with the uncertainty of an unproven belief. Or no belief.

By unwavering commitment to the truth, regardless of party or ideology, and by being beholden to no influence, we will work together on completing the picture.

Truth first.



  • MIXED MESSAGES. Distinguish what can be proven to be a fact, and what is opinion. Often, the two are mixed in the same sentence. Predictions about the future and black-and-white statements made without context are obvious signs.
  • OMISSION. Be able to spot a story that might be leaving out crucial details. When this happens, the picture looks very different. It's important to search for any details that were omitted, for any reason.
  • EXPERTS. If an article cites an expert, determine whether the expert is stating fact or opinion. Many articles do not distinguish between the two when citing sources. An example of a fact would be data reported in a study. An example of opinion would be the conclusions drawn from that study. When the expert is stating an opinion, many articles often do not include a counterargument. We need to seek out those opposing viewpoints.
  • SOURCE. Often a headline and article will present an idea as fact, with only one source for the idea. Beware of one-source stories supporting an opinion presented as fact. Another issue we deal with more and more is that the media is quoting the media. Where did the fact originate?
  • TONE. When dealing with controversy, many articles convey opinion through tone. An example would be using adjectives to describe a person or a situation that are not provable one way or the other.
  • INFLUENCE. Follow the money. The owners and publishers of any media organization influence that organization's content in large and small ways. The biggest way they do so is by censoring content. There are certain stories they simply will not run. Writers do not bump against this often, but when they do, it's unmistakable.
  • FALSE ADVERTISING. So many stories today are click bait; in other words, they promise to divulge a fact that is very attractive, but ends up as a totally different idea in the story, or being a very small part of the story, or simply not being backed up by the story at all.
  • AUDIO AND VIDEO. Often, articles cite audio and video evidence to back up facts. It's important to go back to the audio or video in question, and to listen to more than a few seconds, preferably the entire available recording before determining what exactly the evidence is. Context is always important; but it is even more important when it comes to audio-visual facts.
  • CAUSATION. Many articles and memes imply that one thing has caused another, when there is simply the existence of both things in multiples situations. The idea that correlation implies causation is considered a logical fallacy.