The recent election has got me thinking about truth. I know I am going to sound old-school, but there was a time a few decades ago when I could turn on the TV in the evening and get the news. There were reporters who worked hard to find the truth.

  • It isn’t possible for people to report the news without bias, but our news is more than biased -- much of it is fake.
  • There are people who are frightened and upset by the results of the recent election. Their feelings are not right or wrong, but they are real.
  • The truth is important even in advertising and marketing. If all real estate agents always told the truth, we would get more respect and trust.

The recent election has got me thinking about truth. I know I am going to sound old-school, but there was a time a few decades ago when I could turn on the TV in the evening and get the news. There were reporters who worked hard to find the truth.

It isn’t possible for people to report the news without bias, but our news is more than biased — much of it is fake. There are stories that have been made up that contain some factual information, but they are just stories.

During the recent campaigns, when I read something that I did not think was true, I would fact check it a couple of different ways. The days of the old-school media and investigative reporting seem to be over. Who knows? Maybe diligence will make a comeback.

I do not believe the results from the exit polls about the presidential election are accurate. The inaccuracy of the polls before the election show how far small samples can mislead us.

Is it news or simply validation?

There was a news source that I used to go to and read the news, but they started putting a kind of disclaimer beneath every article they wrote about a certain candidate.

Even though I totally agree with their opinion, I stopped relying on them as a news source but continued to look at them for entertainment and occasionally for validation.

We all have our own biases, and we tend to look for information that backs up or validates what we already know, which is called “confirmation bias.”

We do not question information that validates what we already believe. We believe it, and we share it with other like-minded individuals via social media.

Opinions aren’t wrong, but neither is the truth

Post-election, I am on a mission to seek out the truth and spread it if appropriate.

Made-up facts make life easier especially when they are aligned with our own belief systems, but I do not want to live in a world of make-believe. I want to know the truth.

People have told me that some of my opinions are wrong. I don’t see an opinion as something that can be right or wrong. Opinions based on made-up facts are hard to listen to; about all we can do is supply facts when we can find them.

There are people who are frightened and upset by the results of the recent election. Their feelings are not right or wrong, but they are real.

Telling people how to feel or to stop feeling a certain way mostly doesn’t work, and it creates hostility and distrust in the community and the workplace.

Ultimately people will stop sharing their feelings with others who are likely to discount them. The resistance to the new world order that our recent election set into motion will just go underground and resurface during the next election, and a new group of people will be worried or scared.

As a business person, I tread lightly when discussions about the election results crop up in the office or with my clients. I will not tell people that how they feel is wrong, whether I agree with them or not.

I will not assume that my clients and colleagues voted the same way that I did or that they even want to talk about the election.

It’s our responsibility to be analytical

When it comes to finding the truth, we need to check sources. Who wrote the article? What is their job? What are their qualifications as a subject matter expert?

I like to find a couple of sources if something doesn’t seem right or my news source seems biased. We can also ask: Who will benefit if I retweet this news? Is what we are reading really news, or is it an opinion or marketing piece in the form of a Facebook ad?

We are being bombarded by made-up facts that look like real facts, and it is creating a kind of made-up reality that is pitting us against each other. Indeed, there are twisted facts that support every point.

I love numbers and facts and figures. Not the kind that are based on polls that consist of small sample sizes — that maybe composed of people with home phones or people who vote during the day.

I like numbers based on data that is gathered correctly and prefer large amounts of data over small amounts.

On my websites, I have always taken care with the numbers I publish, and I am prepared to prove my numbers even though I don’t have to. When I make a mistake, I admit it and correct it quickly.

When I talk to my clients, I don’t guess at the answers to their questions; I get the facts and cite my sources.

The truth is important even in advertising and marketing. If all real estate agents always told the truth, we would get more respect and trust.

Our associations could benefit from being more transparent so that it is easier for members to find and to see the truth.

The truth is out there somewhere, and I will seek it out no matter where it hides. I hope you will join me and do the same.

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul. She is also the founder of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com.

Email Teresa Boardman

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