On 6/21/15’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd showed a video from Sing-Sing Prison. The video depicted several black prisoners talking about their bad decisions that led to their imprisonment. Following the video, Todd asked his panel members for their reactions:
1. New York Times' David Brooks: "profound, powerful, insightful" – almost bringing him to tears. This is what Todd expected. He then asked Eugene Robinson.
2. Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson: "offended," noting "only black prisoners were depicted... We should point out that this is not just an African-American problem.” This is not what Todd expected. Todd was surprised, stunned, embarrassed.
Chuck Todd and Meet the Press failed to understand the need for a diversified staff with diverse perspectives and understandings. A diverse staff would have identified this issue before it was aired on national TV.
So, here we are - back to OJ Simpson’s verdict; the Ferguson, MO shooting; and an almost unlimited list of incidents which show how our biases and prejudices limit or predetermine our understanding/perception of what we just witnessed. Or, our predispositions cause us to be impulsive, reaching conclusions before we get all the facts. These are concrete examples of our need to be mindful of our predispositions, our biases. We need real objectivity, and to wait for all the facts.
In my book, "Getting the Truth," I explain how we can improve our skills and abilities to sense what is really going on around us. Are you receiving/sensing all the information you need to make the best fact- based decisions? We need to minimize, and where possible, remove our filters. Be aware of our prejudices, our biases to allow us to receive all the information, not just what we think is there or what we want to think is there. Further, what isn’t there is also important.
The Trained Observer is one who senses all there is and isn’t, that should be. Investigators, medical practitioners, human resource professionals, parents, TV commentators and business professionals need to make better fact-based decisions. Let’s become better at “sensing” all the information. Let’s become Trained Observers.
You can purchase Mr. Koenig’s book, “Getting the Truth” by clicking “BOOKSTORE."