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Discerning the Truth

Today, it is harder than ever to get people out of their 'belief silos.'

"Tribalism" is a term used frequently today to describe the United States and the multiple cultures — political and other — that exist. With the wide breadth of information sources, people can find a place that has an echo chamber for their belief system. Politically, this happens on both the right and the left of our political spectrum. 

I listened to this Fresh Air podcast earlier today, The White House And Its 'Shadow Cabinet' Of Fox News TV Hosts, which details a New Yorker magazine article on the connections between the current White House and Fox News. 

Before writing this blog post, I was thinking that some may think I've been co-opted by the mainstream "fake" media. In response, I say take time to read a short portion of the podcast at the link provided, but better yet, listen to the entire podcast itself. One of the items recommended in the podcast is that people take time to tune into Fox News if you are not a regular subscriber. It is something I do about once a week to see what they are saying about the news of the day — to better understand what some are learning from their news source.

As you read/listen, take out all the conjecture you hear or read (if you don't trust the reporter) and just stick to the facts. What are the facts about the close connection between people who have worked for Fox and now work in the White House and vice versa. Those are easily discernible with a series of Google searches, if you don't want to take the New Yorker as a reputable news organization.

It seems to me that we have gotten to the point where facts don't matter. Rather, it is what I believe and how I feel that governs who I believe or do not trust. 

It feels like some people have assumed the role of grandmother for any number of political figures. Yes, my grandson has done some bad things and is not perfect, but he is still my grandchild and I love him. That may be OK for the grandmother, but for others in a society of laws, it makes for interesting debates about discerning what is lawful, what is correct, what is "unprecedented" or presidential. 

I would add that if you are a "win at all costs" person, then the means of winning don't matter to you. That is a slippery slope indeed when it comes to teaching your children how to be ethical.

All of the above matters to emergency managers because it is the environment we are functioning in. You are part of government, and if all government is not to be believed or trusted, that means you have a problem with your personal credibility. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.