If I Want Your Opinion I'll Give It To You!

With the municipal elections well behind us and people once again settling into the routines of everyday life I started to think about a Toronto Star article which boldly suggested Torontonians vote for John Tory So Doug Ford wouldn’t get in. The article made me wonder about the responsibility, or (lack thereof), people with influence have, in trying to sway our decisions. Do media outlets like the Toronto Star think we are children and not able to make our own decisions?

We do. Not live in the dark ages and have ample access to media, social or otherwise, leaving us the ability to deduct fact from fiction. It is bad enough Government constantly tells us what to do (and I understand to some degree they have to, if only to protect us from ourselves) but really? Telling me to vote for Tory so Ford won't get in? Hello? What happened to voting for a candidate we want to have elected instead of being told to vote strategically against someone?

What about all the other outlets for people forcing their opinions on us. Everyday thousands of Twitter and Facebook posts relay, what used to be simple, private thoughts, to tens of thousands of people. Ten years ago I could have a conversation with two or three people and if I disagreed I could tell them. Now those same, unwanted and sometimes idiotic opinions find themselves onto smart phones, tablets and computers in thousands (and in some cases millions) of households. Unfortunately if something gets said often enough it seems to become true, besides, if I read it on the Internet it must be accurate.

Do not misunderstand me in thinking that I do not respect people's opinions, because I do. I base many of my actions on a compilation of facts, opinions and advice, which I gather from numerous sources, but I do not like to have opinions forced on me or being told what I should think by sources whose integrity is questionable at best. Having said that I am a strong believer that individuals should have the right to try and influence other individuals, but with responsibility in a face to face forum.

The Toronto Star, a big opponent to the Rob Ford way of life went beyond its responsibilities by publicly humiliating, fueling and negatively editorializing the mayor of Canada's largest city. Sure, what he did was wrong and in some cases inexcusable, but more important was the global humiliation this media outlet was responsible for. I don't mean Ford's humiliation, but that of Toronto, a city that has gone to ridicule on a global scale.

It is important to point out the difference between blame and responsibility. In my scenario Ford was at fault, but it was the media's responsibility to make Toronto shine to the rest of the world and not be possessed by the need to sell more papers or voice the unwanted opinions of a few, right wing radical journalists.

I still believe reporters have a responsibility to report, not create. News should be comprised of facts and events and not opinions. Unfortunately the past decade has turned millions of ordinary people into reporters or worse, editorialists, offering constant opportunities to post their private thoughts and opinions on forums read and viewed by millions (billions, actually). I encourage anyone who posts information on any public medium to do so with responsibility and factualness and not solely opinionated interpretations.

Anyway, that's my opinion, I'm sure you have yours.

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