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The first time I heard it was when Colin Cowherd said it. From September, 2017 the quote as I understand it was, “People now only seek affirmation. Not information.” Could this apply to auctioneers? I think so.

In other words, do auctioneers only hear what they want to hear? Do they only seek select information that confirms their prior beliefs — affirmation of those thoughts? Probably no more than any other demographic, but I would suggest this is a dangerous strategy.

I’m not suggesting I’m exempt. Before this blog began in 2009, I would often search the Internet for data/information that confirmed what I already believed. More recently, I’ve made an attempt to have the information speak for itself rather than just affirm my preconception.

As a frequent auction expert witness, I’ve had to deliver the good news as well as the bad news to attorneys around the United States. Any cases/clients these attorneys are representing want a certain outcome, but that doesn’t always align with the facts otherwise.

Relatedly, I see frequent posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and other sites where the poster only posts articles/news that supports their prior position. While this is fine in a generic sense, when the so-called news is false, incomplete or misleading, it becomes an issue.

A even more precarious scheme I’ve seen lately is to proclaim false information to be true — to only suggest if caught, “I was only joking,” or “I was just trying to make a point.” There are far better ways to humor others or prove a point than with false news selectively portrayed as fact.

Personally, I don’t mind hearing, reading or otherwise being aware of others’ opinions — so long as they are depicted as opinion. However if you are an umpire and only calling strikes no matter where the pitch lands, you won’t be viewed as a referee (nor a creditable source of information) for very long.

Is an auction always the right answer? Not hardly. Is this the best software? Probably not for everyone. Is membership in an association always good for an auctioneer? Likely not. What’s the best sound system? Microphone? It undoubtedly depends. Can you reopen the bid? Yes and no.

We are all a work-in-progress, listening, watching, learning, changing hopefully for the better. One such result is we should be getting more proficient at discerning fact from opinion and real news from often-referred-to fake news. It may be as simple as looking for information rather than affirmation.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.