A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest. – Paul Simon
Anyone following along with the current state of American politics, the #Brexit, or the European Football championship probably knows what I mean when I say “confirmation bias”. It’s pretty universally understood that any strong adherent to one faction or the next is almost certain to seek out the news and information sources that hold and proclaim their point of view. And many of those who are most heavily involved in one side of an issue wonder how it’s possible for the other side to see things the way they do.
News sources themselves tend towards catering to one side of an issue or another. This is, of course, completely deliberate: those who are consumers of news trend toward viewership of the network whose broadcasts come closest to professing their own point of view. Savvy media outlets tailor their content to the audience that they know is tuning in lest a valuable audience member become displeased with the news of the day and dare to change the channel. With this kind of editorial manipulation going on behind the scenes, the differences in coverage of a single event across several networks can be jarring.
With the proliferation of the internet, the rise of the blogosphere, and the advent of the genre known as “infotainment”, it has in recent years become all the more effortless an undertaking to constrain ourselves to channels that reinforce an already-held position. People like to be right. People like to feel justified in their worldview. People also appreciate community. This is a large part of why we, as people, congregate and tend to self-segregate along political, social, class, and religious lines. Read More