Assumptions. We all make them. We shouldn't, but we do. One of the things I constantly preach to our reporters at the Petoskey News-Review is to never make assumptions. Once you start doing that, you will start getting your facts wrong. You must only report the truth and the facts as you know them: you must never report your assumption.
While it can be difficult to get rid of assumptions, our reporters do it and they do it quite well. But even so, assumptions outside of the office are made about them, and me.
I try to take it in stride, but I must admit, sometimes it does get a little annoying to have claims made about you by people who really know nothing about you.
People make too many assumptions each day. It impairs judgement and clouds a person's outlook on life. Over the years I have noticed it is getting worse, especially in the political arena.
Politicians and political pundits play off of people's assumptions, telling people what they want to hear and spinning every bit of news. They are making people assume: if you do not believe in what I believe in politically or socially, then you must be out to destroy my way of life. By constantly assuming your neighbor is out to get you, you push away from others and it is harder to come together for the common good.
People are afraid to try and work out their differences and are being taught that compromise is a bad word, with the assumption being that any sort of compromise is giving in to your enemy.
So what have we gotten out of this trend of making assumptions and politicians and pundits playing on it? We have gotten a highly politicized environment where people are always angry and no decisions can be made. This way is not working.
We need to stop falling for the spin, the tricks and the deceit being fed to us by politicians and their paid pundits. We need to learn to stop assuming and start listening to each other. We need to stop assuming your Democrat-voting neighbor is a socialist or your Republican-voting neighbor is ignorant.
Assumptions build walls, assumptions cause problems and assumptions will erode our country's greatness.
It's time we stopped talking over each other or blaming each other and started listening to each other.
End the assumptions. Focus on reality and facts.
Recently we had a sort of survey on our puzzles page for readers. For about a month we published two crossword puzzles from different companies and asked readers to let us know which one they liked.
We did this for a couple of reasons. First, a few years back we changed crossword providers. The new crosswords were harder, but to be honest, they were cheaper for us. Opinions from readers were mixed, but those that hated the new crosswords, really HATED them. But, we just could not justify the cost of the old crossword puzzles we were running and kept those harder ones.
A little over two months ago I was visited by a different crossword provider, who was trying to sell me a new version of crossword puzzles that were the same price as what we were paying, but they were easier. Based on the mixed reaction I received, when we changed the crossword puzzles three or so years ago, I decided to take the decision to the readers.
The result after a month -- it wasn't even close. Readers far preferred those original, harder, crossword puzzles to the new, easier, ones. (I did have a few readers that wanted us to run both crossword puzzles all the time, but we really cannot afford that.)
Based on this, we have decided to keep those original crossword puzzles and not go with the easier ones. I apologize now if this was not the puzzle you voted for, but the readers have spoken.
McBain is executive editor of the Petoskey News-Review. Reach him at (231) 439-9316 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org