A Description of the Grand Signour's Seraglio or The Turkish by Ottaviano Bon, John Withers

By Ottaviano Bon, John Withers

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Over its nearly 60 years in business, RAND has been described as right wing, left wing, Democratic leaning, Republican leaning, and both pro– and anti– just about every group and cause you can name. We’re actually none of the above. We’re pro-facts. Opinions belong in public debate. They are at the heart of our political system. We elect our leaders because of their opinions and values, and we expect them to exercise good judgment. But before an intelligent debate can begin, we need to know what we are debating, and that requires objective facts.

Joe Friday on the hit TV show Dragnet. Friday (played by Jack Webb) was a Los Angeles Police Department detective, and he uttered his famous phrase during his questioning of potential witnesses in investigations. His goal was to separate fact from opinion and conjecture so that he could get the information he needed to come up with an objective analysis to help solve a crime. Yet as increasingly partisan and polarized debates rage across the United States today—pitting conservatives against liberals, Democrats against Republicans, and people from various groups against one another—the plain The plain and and simple facts are getting lost in simple facts are a sea of opinion flooding the media and cyberspace.

Yet as increasingly partisan and polarized debates rage across the United States today—pitting conservatives against liberals, Democrats against Republicans, and people from various groups against one another—the plain The plain and and simple facts are getting lost in simple facts are a sea of opinion flooding the media and cyberspace. Each side claims getting lost in a its own “facts”—as if shouting sea of opinion the loudest, coming up with the cleverest argument, or spending flooding the media the most on TV ads could decide and cyberspace.

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