Distortion

Cars are made of sheet medal, at least most of the outside is. My grandson and I are restoring a 1969 mustang, and we are cutting out rusty sections of the sheet medal body and welding in new medal. One of the things we have to be careful about is not getting any one spot too hot as we weld because we will cause distortion. It is the same medal, it just has a bit of a wave in it, and will take some major bondo work to get it to look good when painting the car. Sometimes I have just a little distortion, but distortion is bad, even just a little, if the goal is a good-looking car when she is all done.

In today’s media and politics there are a variety of ways they use to communicate their agenda rather than the truth. They often just outright lie, but usually they will try to be a bit more subtle than that. The technique now most often used is distortion. You give what is true a bit of a twist so that a different message comes out. The twist can be made by leaving out part of the story, or over hyping part of it, or including one or two small lies. Almost all of what we hear on most of the news stations have significant distortions in it. The deliberate practice of distorting information in order to give a false impression or narrative has gotten so bad that it is a total waste of time to listen to most of the news anymore.

On our car, I can feel a distortion by running my hand over it better than I can by just looking at it. When we are all done with the car and have the primer on it, I will spray it with some black paint and then sand it with my block sander which is about 2 inches wide and 2 feet long. After I have finished sanding, black paint is left in the low spots that will need some Bondo work. After that is all done, I do the black spray paint routine one more time, and the result is a nice, smooth, wrinkle-free car.

A technique to end up with a nice car can be learned, and a technique to sort out distorted junk, and end up with reasonably accurate information also can be learned.

I set a goal several years ago to learn to identify distortion-free reporting and writing. Part of the goal was to spend no more than 20 minutes each day reading, listening and watching. I began by listening to, watching, and reading a variety of different reporters and authors with a critical ear towards accuracy, and it wasn’t really that hard to start eliminating a number of names from my list. I now have my list of favorite writers, and reporters that I get my current events and news from, and feel confident that I am getting balanced distortion-free information.

Some will want to know my personal list of favorites but I suggest that you make a goal similar to mine and then we can compare lists via email.

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