Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006 | This Café San Diego Piece “The Timeworn Story of the Evil Profiteer” by Rachel Laing was excellent! It captured a problem that I have been talking to people about for a very long time. The reason that everyone is so cynical in San Diego is that there always needs to be a villain. There is no acknowledgement that as in any diverse city there are many sides to an issue and good and honest people can have different points of view and still both be honest and good people. Maybe even friends! We have lost the art of honest debate because of a need to place blame and “find the villain.” As Rachel acknowledged, sometimes the villain exists, but most times there are just good people on many sides with strong, diverse points of view. If we do not demonize people in the process, the result of the debate can be dynamic compromise that moves our city forward.
Rachel also captured a problem with our local media in this line; “And reporters can really get stuck in that frame, no matter what facts surface to tell them the agitator is dishonest or motivated by their own greed/insanity/publicity seeking.” I have met many of the insane publicity seekers in my time, and I have seen how one or two people with a minority point of view can be multiplied in a reporter’s story in the name of balance. When 15 people say yes and two say no, and the paper has two quotes from each side, it looks like the public opinion is balanced on the issue when it is not. I think the media needs to be honest about the level of support on either side of an issue.
Thanks to Rachel for writing this piece!