Where Do You Get Your News?

These past 4 years have been excruciating. It’s no secret that I don’t believe Trump is president material. Never have, never wiil, and he’s completely met (or exceeded) my expectations in this. Before he descended that elevator I’ve known. From the moment he took to the podium with his doomsday speech about American carnage I’ve known. Most of the people I know have known. Which begs the question, how can so many not see?

I had a brief messaging conversation with someone I love dearly. I tried to bring up some things Trump has been widely known to have done. He wouldn’t even read my message. He read a couple of lines, pictured CNN (which I don’t even watch), and stopped reading. Good job FOX. Good job right wing radio jocks. Your job is complete. If I ever wanted to brainwash a population, the first thing I would do would be to convince them that everyone but me was misinformed. That everyone but me was spouting false information. I can’t even get this person to listen to NPR.

I have to admit to a penchant for steering toward the liberal side of things. I follow certain anchors on MSNBC, but I know I have this bias, so early on I found Republicans that I trusted who also don’t think Trump is presidential material, who also know that he’s leading this country down a dark path. I followed them. I read what they have to say. They are conservatives. They believe in limited government and strict adherence to the Constitution. They provide balance to my leanings. I can accept and respect their position because I know where it comes from. Many things I disagree with. Some I agree with. I’ve always believed we were a better country when we strike a balance between the disagreeing factions.

FOX News watchers rightly believe that the other news channels have an agenda. What they fail to see is that their chosen news source has one as well. They have been convinced over the years that their chosen news source is the holy font when it comes to information. I’m sure the Murdochs are thrilled.

It’s always a good idea to consume news with a critical eye. Question what you are being told, and if you only watch one source, be it conservative or liberal, break out of your bubble and ground yourself with a different take.

I found this article on the subject interesting. It’s notable that Republicans see everything outside of their bubble as being biased, while Democrats are more flexible on this issue. Scroll down to the bottom to see the graphs. My takeaway is that you can’t really go wrong with checking in with NPR News.

I don’t know how we come back from this great divide. With so much technology and access to information, confirmation bias is a very real thing. It’s cementing ideas in people’s heads. Somehow we have to find common ground. We have to be able to discuss differences with an ear to understanding. I hope it’s not too late.

So… where do you get your news?

P.S. If you want a humorous take on the right wing side of confirmation bias, I recommend Jordan Klepper Fingers the Pulse from the Daily Show.

The Art of Artifice


Photo credit: gato-gato-gato via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Carefully crafted,
Artfully arranged,
Smiling face selfies shower the internet –
A tilt of the head,
A coy look to the universe
Always showing our best side.

Sculpted backdrops, but no teardrops;
Paused family gatherings –
Artificial moments
Instantly posted,
A perfect photo for eternity,
Evidence of a life well lived.

Yet…
Stepping back into the darkness of our solitude,
Behind the closed doors,
We see the better,
Prettier,
More loving.
And we stash the smartphone in a pocket
As a silent teardrop falls.


Written in response to The Daily Post’s prompt: Artificial

Letter From A Former Follower

Dear Facebook Friend,

I have recently had to unfollow you. Please don’t take offense; it’s not that I dislike you. I would still stop and talk to you at the store or the park or at a ball game. I would ask about your kids because I truly care how they are doing. It appears from your posts that they are doing very well.

I see that your oldest daughter was crowned Homecoming Queen. How exciting! You must be very proud. I would urge you to have her try for the festival princess position in the spring. I feel like she might be selected as queen. Do you remember when our kids were friends back in middle school? My son told me the other day he only has a couple of friends now. I don’t know if he was joking, but I worry about him fitting in. I’m glad you don’t have those worries.

I also see that your daughter’s good grades and sports successes have certainly paid off in the form of, correct me if I’m wrong (you may have updated this information when I wasn’t looking), 4 college offers? And you say they’ve been coming in all year? I can certainly feel your excitement. And you posted a picture of them, although I would have taken your word for it. You must be very proud. My son is struggling in school, and his dedication to his soccer team has not resulted in any scholarships or recruiting offers, though there is still time, right?

May I also congratulate you on the success of your younger daughter. My, it seems like intelligence runs in your family. Straight As in middle school are something to be proud of. It was nice to see the picture as proof. It made me think of my conferences, where the teacher, my son and I brainstormed how he could pull his math grade up… again. It would be nice if he would bring home a straight A report card. I would be proud of that accomplishment, almost as much as I am proud of his character traits of kindness and empathy and thoughtfulness. We would have a small celebration where I would serve up his favorite dinner on the special plate, You would probably never know about it.

Facebook friend, just know that I am not choosing this path because I don’t care. It’s just that my life is not as beautiful or on track as yours seems to be, and the constant comparison is gnawing at me and affecting my relationships. So I will leave you in peace with your 500 other friends. In the sea of “likes,” you won’t even notice mine missing.

If we ever run into each other around town, I look forward to the chance to catch up.

Sincerely,

A former follower