Dilbert’s rules of reading

(Scott Johnson)

In Molière’s Bourgeois Gentleman, Monsieur Jourdain famously discovers that he has been speaking prose all his life without knowing it. Like Monsieur Jourdain, I find that I have been following the rules for reading formulated by cartoonist Scott Adams (Dilbert) without knowing them. In the Wall Street Journal column “Trump and Ukraine: What We Know,” Adams writes:

If you’ve followed the Ukraine phone-call news, you might have noticed reality branching into two completely different movies. In one, President Trump was doing his job of protecting the republic by asking an allied country to help out on an important legal investigation. The other movie involves Orange Hitler bullying a foreign country into meddling in our elections by “digging up dirt” on a political opponent.

Which movie is the real one, if such a thing exists? I’d like to offer a rule of thumb for evaluating political news: If a fact is reported the same by both the left-leaning and the right-leaning press, it’s probably a fact. If not, wait and see.

It’s also smart to wait a week or two before you make up your mind, as the fog of war often makes early reporting unreliable. But after the fog clears, if all sides agree on a fact, it’s probably a fact. Or at least it’s credible, even if future reporting debunks it.

Source: Dilbert’s rules of reading