The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Mike Sunderland
Thoughts from a Grey-haired Point of View 

The Art of Forensics


January 12, 2022 | View PDF

News outlets – newspapers, radio and TV – sometimes use a rather fancy and greatly misunderstood word when they speak of the presentation of evidence.

That word is “forensics.” We’ve heard and read it used in the reporting of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. Forensics is a great word to use when writing or speaking to people who have no real understanding of the word’s meaning! Especially if you are trying to bulldoze them into agreeing with you!

I first became acquainted with forensics in high school after I joined the Monroe High School debate club. Our debate teacher gave us the best concise definition of that word I’ve ever heard. She said, “Forensics is the art of public argumentation.” In short: it really has nothing to do with truth or facts, and more to do with the art of presentation.

As a member of the top Alaskan high school debate team of the mid-1960s I can honestly attest to this.

In my junior and senior years of high school Bob Kies was my partner in debate. It did not take us very long to figure out how easy it is to use the same set of “facts” on both the pro and the con sides of a debate.

We learned the art of using the same information to support both sides of the argument. In our slightly more than two years as debate partners we lost less than 5% of more than 150 debates. No spin here, just fact! In our freshman year at the University of Alaska Bob and I were members of the group that was invited to Missoula, Montana to participate in the Big Sky Debate Tournament. Our final score was 9 wins and 1 loss. The judge in that 1 loss admitted to us later that we’d won, but (and I quote) “I gave it to the other team by 1/10th of a point because they are from my alma mater.” We protested but the judges’ decisions were final. Oh, well.

Here’s the kicker on this subject: News reports should always be based on the facts as best as the reporter and editor can determine them. This determination should be as unbiased as it is humanly possible. Editorial content, on the other hand can, and usually is biased.

Even my little articles are biased! I do base them on true facts as I have experienced them. The events I relate are as factual and truthful as I can make them…especially since I’m the one that was there!

My interpretation and presentation of those events (i.e. my stories) are from my point of view. You can argue the interpretation, but the actual facts of the events are not open to argument. The events were real!

I do my best to present the events I relate in as factual a manner as possible. I have extensive files of pix and newspaper articles, etc. In most instances I was there, experiencing first hand the events I relate.

Now balance this with most of the liberal left wing news outlets and their presentation of the news. I firmly believe that they could care less about the facts. They are only interested in pushing their left-wing socialistic (a.k.a. progressive) agenda.

You, the readers and listeners of the news, are the judges in this national debate. You will be the ones who determine the future of Sidney, Cheyenne County, Nebraska and the United States of America.

Make your voices heard. Do not remain silent and cowed by the left wing media and their cohorts. But first get the facts and the truth!


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