Aaron Hanlon argued that humans have always used data to understand and interpret the world, however when data revolution was when data became the main form of evidence. This is problematic because data is inherently biased based on collection methods and context, so therefore evidence becomes biased. And we often present data or images of data, like graphs and charts, without giving context. Therefore, the meaning of the data is completely changed when it is put in context. And, we see this trend when we look at the word frequency data between data, fact and truth. Today, many people do not use the word truth nearly as often as they use data or fact. Therefore, I believe that this means that truth carries less weight in our society than words like fact or data. However, we know that data must be interpreted to establish fact, allowing for errors.

This rhetoric is extremely prevalent in our political campaign. We have seen an overall devaluing of truth in the debates. Hillary Clinton is considered one of the most distrusted candidates. And Donald Trump is known for fabricating numbers and facts, yet he is largely excused for this behavior. The fact-checkers for the debates found that Trump lied significantly more than Clinton. However, his repeated use of the word “wrong” continued the Clinton is untrustworthy narrative. The use of the word wrong implies that something is not correct. This means that instead of saying that Clinton was lying or not telling the truth, he is saying that her facts are incorrect. Although largely being correct and lying are interchangeable these days, this highlights the distinction Professor Hanlon made in his argument.

Politics has become so polarized that many people only receive information from sources that align with their political interests. They look at the visual representation, the graphs and the charts, and this data only reinforces their already formed beliefs. We live in an era where we have so many different sites that have the news that we can choose which ones we look at because they favor our opinions. This is deeply concerning considering how we know what we know, or how we decide what is true. Because we limit our worldview in such a way, notions of fear and resentment of the other opinion can spread. And because we see evidence for our own beliefs, no matter how unfounded or false they may be, we insist that they are true because most of all, we trust ourselves. Therefore, we define truth based on data, and therefore truth must be interpretive rather than factual. This explains the power the media has over all of our news. And this is one of the reasons Trump won the presidency. The media initially refused to condemn Trump because of the views and shares articles and videos of him were creating. And thus he was seen as a viable candidate because no one questioned his outrageous and often unfounded claims.