When writing for the public eye, I have this odd need to mention both sides and even advocate both sides. Thus, when I wrote “The beauty of a cell tower“, even though with my background I do not personally believe there are issues with cell tower radiation, and I heard people who were voicing opinions and sharing information that were plausible and coherent. Realistically, no one has come out and said there are no issues because they can’t. We don’t know. At least some of us believe not, and at least some of us believe so. Who is right? I do not know. I acknowledge I can be wrong with my personal opinion; it is an opinion after all, and so I explored what could be researched.
As I told a friend recently over a drink, “I don’t think that there is a danger, but I imagine if I had a pacemaker in my chest I might view things differently.” That I do not have the fear does not make someone else’s fear less real. And as I sat with my morning coffee this morning and considered perspectives around me, people reaching for solid answers on a topic, it seems to me that this is a lot of what is missing in social media, and even between peoples sitting across from us.
What was most amusing to me was that someone said the article was misinformation, when in fact there is no misinformation in there – sources are linked, and a topic explored that probably could afford to be explored more. If there is no risk with cell towers, why then doesn’t the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health say something on the topic?
It’s an inconvenient topic. As I mentioned in the article, there is a balance between progress and concerns that must be addressed and while I have an opinion, and while everyone else has an opinion, what we lack are facts. So do we become paralyzed about it? No. We should not be.
But that’s the trick with trying to present something that is balanced. People with strong opinions that cannot acknowledge that they might be wrong will accuse writing of misinformation, even gaslighting (such a popular term these days though few seem to understand it when they do it). To dismiss the fears of others without addressing them also fits ‘gaslighting’.
Vaccines are another example. I believe in general that vaccinations have value. Others are worried about what’s in vaccinations – some out of profound ignorance, some out of informed opinion, but it’s inconvenient to address both for some so they… gaslight. Rather than address the concern through knowledge and rationality, it’s easy to simply gaslight and make someone question their reality.
Balance has value. There is room for more than one perspective on anything that we think we know or that we believe.