We already see this in the media. You have the host and two people. Lets hear what person A says, lets hear what person B says. Who's right? Impossible to tell, otherwise you must be biased. And no mention that person A drew conclusions on claims which were mostly verifiable facts, whereas person B drew conclusions on entirely made up claims.
In fact, this is a known fallacy and has a name: argument to moderation.
Some times person A is 100% right and person B is 0% right. The thing is that to be able to tell the different takes effort in educating yourself. And the minute you try to outsource this to someone else, they will use that trust against you. But calling it 50-50 is not a solution, it's not even an approximate solution.
Journalists and politicians alike getting drawing incorrect insights from data.
Meanwhile so little of the data surrounding coronavirus is comparable. You have countries only recording cases if the patient was hospitalised (not if they tested positive) and cause of death reporting is a minefield.
So "verifiable fact" is just as easily weaponised / politicised as bullshit. At least bullshit is easier to debunk...
We had this almighty Imperial Model projecting 500k dead meanwhile Sweden just did their own thing.
I don't really have a leaning to the policy setting but it feels that once you wrap some information up with numbers, maths and scientific authority you can parade subjectivity as fact anyway too.
I guess I'm a little jaded after seeing politics and business use spurious pedestalise data which really amounts to numerology when you start peeling back the layers and thinking critically.
I'm not sure if you are just throwing this out there or if your intent is to hold up Sweden as an example that contradicted expected results with respect to models/social distancing requirements/etc.
If the later, then think Sweden is not a good example of such a contradiction: With the comparably minor-to-moderate social distancing, they have roughly about 2.5x the cases per capita as their two neighbors Finland and Norway, and roughly 6x to 7x the deaths per capita.
As you said, the data from country to country is hard to compare, but at the very least Sweden should not be the poster-child for low social-distancing mandates.
Best guess given herd immunity kicks in at about 85% of pop infected is about 260,000 deaths with a 1% mortality rate. With these figures 500,000 deaths is a 1.9% mortality rate - high but still possible.
contextualise everything with this 5% figure - the US, and everywhere else, is much closer to the beginning of this than to the end.
That someone made assumptions and drew conclusions might be a fact. But the assumptions might or might not be facts, and the conclusions certainly aren't facts. As a general rule, if it's in the future, it's not a fact.
In the very strictest sense of verifiable fact - boolean true/false statements with irrefutable proof, then yes I think fact trumps all.
Unfortunately I think that in reality, very little of what we think of as fact falls under that very narrow definition. And my example was merely trying to illustrate that the entire field of medical statistics and epidemiology is filled with pitfalls, given that many of the numbers that are reported themselves have a tonne of nuance and context baked into them.
And I suppose any discussion which focuses solely on the numbers associated with the current pandemic are going to be extremely lossy as the numbers are a very low fidelity expression of the "truth" (in the idealistic sense).
What does this have to do with facts? I guess I feel that culturally we attribute the trust to things we consider "facts" at quite a superficial level without digging deeper.
If you read garbage publications, of course you will get garbage arguments and opinions.
US news channels are a horrible example, they pick someone to represent the most extreme views and have them fight on TV to entertain viewers.
But reading two articles on the same topic by two sources on different ends of the political spectrum and with decent quality and can be very enlightening. (emphasis on quality)
And it seems like your argument falls under plenty of its own fallacies.
Perfect solution fallacy
And some might argue straw-man fallacy given that op never suggested that truth would lie 5050 between the two.
Debate allows us to see two opposing views and draw our own conclusions; not perfect but a whole lot better than nothing.
Nah. My view is that news exist for entertainment. That might not be their stated goal, but it's why people consume them.
The Guardian (yes, ironically a provider of "News"), published an extract from the writings of "The Art of Thinking Clearly" author with some decent enough bullet points on this that are difficult to argue with:
I think there's a threshold of distance and size where it stops being useful to the average person. Too far away? Can't do anything about it? Better not weigh down your mind by getting stressed about it.
Actively researching both sources and stories, and not being a passive consumer who expects someone else to spoon-feed you a solution.
> The thing is that to be able to tell the different takes effort in educating yourself.