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Alex Baer: Forcing Cheese, and Us, Through Holes

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swiss cheeseWhat we see depends on us, on what we want to see.  It depends on our everyday mindsets and moods, and how nature and nurture have shaped us, past and present.  In early times, gathering information about our world, people used plain old human vision, and went toe-to-toe with the world, even if they didn't always see eye-to-eye with it.

Somewhere in there, we made the world more complex, and started using windows and doors and portholes and telescopes and other viewing intermediaries.  Newspapers, radio, and television wandered along eventually, helping us see farther away and further ahead.

Rose-colored glasses were sometimes worn by deluded or contented observers of life, whether by a neighbor halfway down the block or a reporter halfway around the planet.  Sometimes, people saw red -- pinkos and reds, to be exact -- directed as their vision was by the low-horsepower, straight-ahead, horse blinders of that era.  For the most part, though, the view of the world was pretty clear, and most people's desires to see, and their means of doing so, were reliable, neutral, and intact.  They were ready to make up their minds, after consulting the facts. This was the norm.  The world and its details were not only knowable, people were busy knowing them.

You could generally trust the facts would be reported accurately from neighbors down the block, based on things they had themselves heard and seen.  Reports from afar followed the same rules, and begat the ABCs of journalism:  Accuracy, Brevity, Clarity.  But something peculiar was happening, too.  It was not always the case, but, more and more, you had to squint to see past, around, and through other people's opinions in order to clearly see the facts.

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