The Allure of an Anecdote

I believe in the immense power of storytelling and the need for the discovery of anecdotes that can connect people with what is going on in the world. But folks in politics and those of us in the media do not serve the public well unless those anecdotes are supported by a broad objective read of the evidence.

The administration, the Republicans and we media folks should reflect on the body of evidence in an objective way before we repeat anecdotes that, while emotional, are not supported by the data.

And this lesson applies equally for all of us in our personal lives. It is much better to look at life in a clear-eyed and open way, and embrace those anecdotes that tell the story of what is, as opposed to what we want to believe.

An anecdote is a distracting fiction or a dodge or spin when the evidence points in another direction. And when supported by objective evidence, there is nothing more powerful than a good anecdote.

There you have it.

Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent.

Opinions expressed in this column do not reflect the views of ABC News.

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