In a world of political dissonance, fake news, and misinformation, it was my extreme pleasure to sit and talk with Dan Walters, California current events and political expert. You would think that someone who has been a journalist for almost 60 years would be deeply entrenched in his own political and ideological bias, but that is why I was so impressed with Dan’s candid stance on remaining unvarnished and detached from political bias.
The Need for True Journalism and Politics
I can’t think of a time where truth is more needed than in our information-saturated world. Politics has become synonymous with a twisting of truth for personal gain. The fact is, it doesn’t have to be. In a system of corruption and stagnant thinking, a true love for the political process and a constant check for bias is exactly what can fix a good system that is being misused. Dan believes in cutting through the noise of politics to uncover the real stories and information people need to know.
The political system, like a car, is only as good as the people driving it. Dan focuses on what’s happening, what isn’t, and what people need to pay attention to. Instead of trying to sway opinion and context of the situation, he believes in delivering it in its unspun nature so people can be well informed and make their own decisions. This is such a refreshing view and one that is so needed in our politically charged environment.
Power to the People
Journalism in America has gone from the what to the why. Twisting the news to fit into a certain political narrative is sadly the norm. This takes power away from the people by telling them what the news means instead of letting their own critical thinking determine it. The degradation of individual critical thinking is a major roadblock to solving problems. The news today is often there to tell you what to think and quickly losing its objectivity. The result is a lot of people with ill-informed opinions that aren’t the result of thought, but of opinions that are rooted by their existing fundamental beliefs.
Critical thought activates a society for growth and solutions. Public discourse can’t be about propaganda, it needs to reflect the real issues we face in an ever-changing world. The best thing we can do is understand our own bias and actively seek rational detached views to look at the problems not only in our own selfish context but in a larger unbiased and inclusive view. This starts with unbiased journalists who can bring the information to the people, unaltered, encouraging critical thought.
Stop Resonating and Start Being Curious
I asked Dan what drives him. “Curiosity.” I instantly smiled because it is the same thing that drives me to learn and look for new experiences and people. Curiosity in journalism is a guiding light that can take you to the truth. At the core, curiosity is not self-serving or biased. Curiosity is the desire for what you don’t know, naturally allowing room for new ways of thinking and empathy. I can’t emphasize how much this is needed in a world where people look to label others with political parties that are then demonized and dehumanized by the opposition. This is destructive and ensures emotion is triggered, instead of rational thinking.
To break the cycle of pandering and inflaming divisional thinking, Journalists and politicians need to stop trying to resonate with society and start to drive critical thought and discourse. My conversation with Dan really impacted me and gave me hope for the divisive system of news and politics. Dan believes, “You can’t be a player. You have to have a detached view to deliver the kind of information people will find useful in a world of spun news.” If you would like to have someone who has written over 9,000 articles and had an amazing lifelong curiosity and passion for the truth, then have Dan Walters speak at your next event.