Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Reality trumps expectations

Did Bibi's speech hurt his chances? by Michael Crowley. A classic example of Betteridge's Law of Headlines ("Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.")

Given the outcome of the election (Netanyahu actually won an increased position in the Knesset and strengthened his coalition), it is also a classic example of epistemological closure, confirmation bias, and the fact that all knowledge is contingent. In fact the latter adage might be modified - all knowledge is contingent on revealed reality.

Crowley based his entire analysis on his a priori conviction that Netanyahu had made a mistake in giving the speech to Congress as well as his confidence in the polls showing Netanyahu losing badly. Reality, as is so often its way, did not match expectations. You would think, given how iconic this picture is, that journalists of all people would be more cautious. Apparently, though, advocacy and conviction trump caution.

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