Letters to the Editor

Jim de Bree | Don’t Just Recite Talking Points

In his recent column, “Don’t Let the Media Do Your Thinking,” Chris Allen attacks the mainstream media for pursuing “their deranged belief that they can still indict our president on Russian collusion and obstruction of justice.”

Mr. Allen’s headline is absolutely correct; we should not allow the media to lead us to an agenda-based conclusion. However, instead of encouraging readers to sidestep media bias by reading the Mueller report for themselves, Mr. Allen merely recites Republican talking points and cherry picks the facts in support of those points.

As an adjunct professor at Cal State Northridge, I teach tax research in the university’s masters of taxation program. To be a successful tax professional, you must objectively examine all of the pertinent facts and apply legislative, administrative and judicial legal authorities to those facts. You have to consider all of the relevant authorities, whether or not they support your position. If you rely on secondary sources compiled by other professionals expressing their views, you frequently will reach incorrect or incomplete conclusions. This is especially true when those materials confirm your preconceived biases. 

In today’s world of supercharged political rhetoric, it is easy to base your conclusions on what the media says. But, just as my students sometimes fail to reach suitable conclusions because they read only secondary materials, we must dig deeper to ensure that we have an objective understanding of all the pertinent underlying facts. We then must apply the rules of law to those facts in order to determine the appropriate course of action.

The circumstances that gave rise to the Mueller investigation are complex and multifaceted, as are the report itself and the implications of its conclusions. That’s why I suggest reading the Mueller report before jumping on a bandwagon. I have not yet had an opportunity to read the report in its entirety, so I have not finalized my thoughts and conclusions with respect to it. 

While it is easier to rely on others to analyze the situation, there is too much at stake to let others do my thinking.

Jim de Bree, Valencia

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