Several articles in the British Guardian and Observer (Memo to the BBC: balance is not fairness when one side is lying, by Peter Preston; The Guardian, 12 June; The BBC’s fixation on ‘balance’ skews the truth, by Catherine Bennett 4 September) have prompted me to think about ‘balance’ of opinions in our organizations.
The articles mainly refer to what the authors saw as BBC obsession with ‘balance’ (of information) mainly in the context of the very imbalanced Brexit debate. Or the lack of it, in fact.
Prominent Brexit campaigners simply lied on facts and figures but were sometimes treated as people ‘entitled to have an opinion’. But they were lies.
So, I wonder.
A discussion on evolution does not need the ‘balance’ of people defending creationism.
Physics do non need the ‘balance’ of alchemy.
Astronomy is not ‘balanced’ with Astrology.
Good thinking does not need the ‘balance’ of bad thinking, but similar, different good thinking.
‘A different point of view’ to a solid, evidence base, scientific case, does not come from preposterous, made up, esoteric opinions.
As many people say, we are in the Post-Truth Era, when the digitalization of crap ideas spread at the speed of light. In fact the same speed as solid ideas, although the crap ones seem to have some advantage. Spread of X at the level of million hits, destinations, views or likes, makes no room for reflection.
Brexit (lack of) debate was an example of the Post-Truth Era. The Trump campaign in the US has mastered the discipline to the highest performance levels.
It’s not that the truth does not matter anymore. It is, it seems, that the more preposterous the un-truth (we used to call this lie) the more legs it seems to have.
Organizational life, usually with more constrains in the spread of information, smaller numbers of human bodies debating, and, theoretically, more check points, should provide us with some vaccination against the Post Truth Era epidemic.
But I wonder whether the contamination of TV news, online information and the 24/7 bombardment of headlines will make a dent in our own thinking.
I can’t begin to imagine the toxicity of a Post-Thruth Era percolated into organizational life. Could you imagine Trumplogic becoming the new black?