We’re not as divided as we think we are… but our media diets are programming us to be.
Time and time again we return to news outlets that possess what I like to call “narrow apertures.” They deliver information that keeps us coming back for more sensationalism and vitriol, not information that causes you to think or be uncomfortable about other points of view. If we want the media to stop being so concentrated on a limited point of view, we must demand content that shows common ground — not division.
The people we know personally are not the facile labels the media presents. You may know someone’s political views, but if you take away the media description of their party, they suddenly become unrecognizable. Both sides in the media and in politics are excellent at creating caricatures of the opposing party. But these rarely reflect the individual voters.
- The vote GOAT — Which American historian has correctly guessed every presidential election since 1984? (answer below)
Think about the people around your table at Thanksgiving. How would you describe them? Unless you have been cloned, I’ll bet you don’t align perfectly on your choice of brew, much less your political preferences.
Yet they most likely fit into a wide-ranging bucket the media presents, based on generalizations. If their bucket is different from yours, the way the media describes the bucket is likely hyperbolic. Now take a step back, does the media description match what you know to be true in your relationship with them?
I think we get stuck in the political party buckets — and in the labels they use to describe us. We are one or the other, not in between. But we as people are so much more complex than that. In order to begin to form a party of unity that allows us to find more commonalities than we think, we have is to look beyond the labels, first, and get to know each other beyond the buckets.
- Here’s a history opport-unity — The real Unity Party was formed in 2004. What is the party’s official slogan? (answer below)
WHAT I’M READING
Communication, not annihilation. An increasingly polarized media landscape has resulted in heightened division amongst communities. What might be the impact of this divide…