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I don't care about the truth

Made it to Friday! And I need your opinion on something. I might be out of my mind on a limb. I may have to get my mind out of the gutter or around the blind side of a table that needs to be turned. So set me straight here.

The Chronicle front page of the paper and the website there’s a photo that is of a teenage or girl in her early 20s bending down to kiss the cheek of a young boy who is coloring with the headline “the first day of school arrives.” Am I the only one who initially thought this was a teacher? If you read the caption, you’ll realize that it is in fact his sister and there’s no inappropriate action going on. Maybe it’s the headline. Maybe it’s my own bias that I still have against the Chronicle that makes me think the worst. But I saw that this morning and thought ay ye-ye, teachers already have enough of a rough go of it of a vocal minority in the public who think they are destroying the innocence of kids. The last thing we need is the implication that our teachers are treating our students like President Biden has visitors to the White House for the better part of a decade.

Maybe that’s unfair though, so let me know. The Just Wright Citrus piece on education I thought was reckless and irresponsible and that not everything needs to be politicized. In Hernando County, they’re having 1000 people show up to a meeting, in Manatee County they have protests in front of school board members houses wearing ski masks, and we’ve been lucky enough to have cooler heads prevail in Citrus, and the very first thing Mike Wright does on the very first day is make incendiary comments about the politicization of schools and now this photo in the Chronicle. Look, guys, I know you’re trying to help, but have you ever thought about not?

Oh well. To each their own. Let’s round up what’s out there this morning. The Chronicle editorial is about affordable housing. The Just Wright Citrus piece was a rejected Chronicle column that didn’t pass publication standards because it was too self-serving, the editor’s words - not mine, and went on to be a defense for something he’s likely getting accused of behind the scenes but that I will say the quiet part out loud today in our main topic. One more thing before we get there.

Several people discussed editorials with me yesterday, loved every second of it, and one quoted the Chronicle’s editorial about 7-Eleven earlier this week in which the Chronicle said the future margin-of-error for environmental safety issues should be zero. This person already knew the answer because they’re very smart, but asked nonetheless if a margin of error can be zero. Scientifically speaking - no.

In natural sciences, the acceptable margin of error is about 1% and in social sciences it is about 5%. What does this mean? Let’s flip it around. It’s really defining a confidence interval, how sure are you that the outcome a researcher is testing is a result of causality and not a result of random chance? The simple fact is random chance will always exist and thus there is always the possibility of a margin of error. I’ll take it one step further here. You might see that the natural sciences has a higher degree of confidence interval than social sciences - 99% vs. 95% - and conclude the bar of proof is higher for natural sciences like medicine. Well, sort of. Natural science companies like pharmaceutical conglomerates only need a 99% effectiveness rating of mitigating harmful effects, not of actual effectiveness. Oh my gosh Bobby it’s Friday and you’re hurting my head, what could this possibly mean?

It means that if you take Tylonol, there is a 99.99% confidence interval that it will not kill you, or rather, harm you substantially worse than if you didn’t take it although that’s not even entirely true because side effects are listed on everything. But with Tylonol and many other over the counter drugs, there’s actually only like a 40-50% effectiveness rating in the population. So while it won’t do any harm to 99.99% of anyone who takes it, it also won’t do any good for six out of ten people who take it, it’s a placebo, but we roll with it anyway because it’s within acceptable margins of error for commercial use.

Wait, I lost the point here, what were we saying again? Oh yeah. There’s risk involved in every decision. To advocate waiting to act until the risk is neutralized is to not understand the world. Okay, fun Friday, right? Let’s get to our topic.

The one part of the Just Wright Citrus piece I liked was that Mike said he was healthier than ever. Congratulations to him and I wish we all prioritized our health, I know it’s hard, but took a little better care of ourselves myself included so I’m happy when people feel that way about themselves. I currently feel that way about myself.

Part of why that is are my morning work outs, and this morning I did a 6am live class on a rower with an instructor based in a New York City studio and 71 people from all over the world. Because there’s no way to communicate other than give people virtual high fives on the machine, many of us, myself included, have social media accounts dedicated to our fitness where we can connect with other equally committed people, I post almost daily. I haven’t posted today yet though. Because I was awful this morning.

Normally I am top 5, maybe top 10 on a bad day, but I just didn’t have it in me today. 13th. Worst finish since I got the machine in January. And maybe, just maybe, if I don’t post about it then some of the people who follow me who weren’t in the class won’t ever have to find out about my moment of weakness. My top 10 truth will be preserved.

You know, I said something in my media ethics class last semester that I really didn’t think was that controversial as it left my mouth and then I looked around the room and students were just gaping back at me, like jaws on the desks, slowly raising their hands to challenge what I had just said.

See, they knew that some of the other sections are taught how to find fake news, and sift through the nonsense to get to what is real, and I was asked about that, and I said that I don’t care about the truth. I really don’t.

Whoa. Bobby has gone round the bend. The guy who preaches building trust just told us he doesn’t care about the truth. How could this be?

It’s not what I value or even think is the most useful aspect of life. So what do I care about? I care about understanding an individual’s interpretation of what they believe is true. That’s different. 2 + 2 equals four but to some people 2 + 2 equals fish. You know these people, you’ve probably held back getting into Facebook arguments with these people or maybe you didn’t. So which do you think is a more important skill to have? Explaining that 2 + 2 equals four or understanding why some people think it adds up to a tuna? Now apply this to how people create and consume media. It’s abundantly clear understanding what people believe is true is a better skill to have. And I’m going to teach you how to do that, but not all today, that’s going to take some time.

Last month, on August 31st, I claimed that Mike Wright is living in the matrix. I said once you unplug it becomes very obvious to see the motivations and biases that he tries to pass as reporting but that is heavily slanted editorial content. To his credit, his own admission this morning that the Chronicle rejected his piece for being too self-serving is blatant evidence that the Chronicle got redpilled this week, they’ve now unplugged. My question is, why haven’t the readers?

I am not advocating that people should stop reading. I don’t want to end Just Wright Citrus or boycott his sponsors or seek retribution on someone I disagree with. I mean, I’m surprised that what seem like obvious flaws are not highlighted more by the commenting public. And now we’ve arrived at Right Rudder again. I’m going to get into this topic much more next week as we have only scratched the surface of what is out there and what the commission’s actions mean for our county. And I’m fully in defense of the commission here, even Commissioner Jeff Kinnard even though he took a position I ultimately disagree with, but someone in media should be standing up for the board and I have their back on this one.

And I think it’s necessary on this Right Rudder debate especially because of some potential conflicts of interest. As a candidate, John Murphy, husband of Chronicle publisher Trina Murphy, was a huge supporter of Right Rudders, still has been with recent guest columns. Right Rudder advertises with Mike Wright, something that he was quick to inflate their leadership values to attach his own to in Wednesday’s post. And that’s fine if it makes both publications trigger shy about looking into why the commission took such a staunch stance against the company, that’s human. But let’s not pretend it’s anything but loyalty.

And from today’s Just Wright Citrus post, “you see, it’s really about independence for me. I cannot, or should not, attach myself to any organization or person if that gives readers a reasonable perception that I’m not independent.” Remember when I said I was going to say the quiet part outloud? That has to be a defense against allegations that he’s not writing about Right Rudder because they are an advertiser.

And now for the craziest turn of events this week, saved it until the very end because I’m going to wrap this up, I believe him. I don’t think Right Rudder being an advertiser is the reason he’s not writing negatively about him.

But Bobby! You just said let’s not pretend it’s anything but loyalty. That’s right. Loyalty to Josh Wooten, not to Right Rudder. The Chamber CEO has been on the front lines of turning around the Inverness airport for over two decades, and it’s incredibly commendable work, but now that we’re this close to going to the next level, some - fortunately not a majority of the board - are willing to overlook serious red flags that we’ll get to next week to get us there.

What is the truth? The truth is that problems with our FBO exist. The truth is also that the media will turn a blind eye to it because of loyalty to people rather than the organization just as any of us would because we’re human. Next time you can’t figure out why someone is acting the way that they are, ask yourself, what do you think is more important? The truth? Or understanding what the truth is to them.


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