One of the ideas that occasionally sends me into a fetal position is the idea of parallel realities between the right and left in this country. How can we be sustainable as a country when we operate from completely different facts, different truths, different realities? There's no question that we've become more polarized, and the internet, while theoretically democratizing in the dispersal of information, has metastasized into echo chambers of confirmation bias, resulting in less-, not more-, informed consumers.
So it's with no little trepidation that I look at a panel on CNN's Reliable Sources on conservative bias in the media and find myself looking at the Washington Post's conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin, Rich Noyes from Media Research Center and Matt Lewis of The Blaze. Gosh, what great balance...what disinterested and opposing views.
In fairness to Reliable Sources, they then followed up with a panel that included all Hillary supporters, although it does appear to reinforce the notion of parallel realities to given them separate and unchallenged air time.
Rich Noyes finds the media coverage of the two presidential candidates problematic, no surprise for a flack from a site claiming "widespread liberal bias." Noyes asserts his site has "studied" mentions of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the last few weeks and The Donald is just getting much more negative coverage.
We found almost 700 statements about Trump, 91 percent of them were negative. We found fewer than 200 about Hillary Clinton, about 79 percent of those were negative as well. But my conclusion, looking at that, is she's really out of the line of fire in the news media up until I guess this past weekend. And he was the central focus, and it was very, very negative.
Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but isn't the fact that Trump has made himself the central focus by this barrage of negative stories--sexual assault victims, screaming that the election is rigged, all evidence be damned, upcoming fraud trial, and just a mind-blowing number of easily provable lies his own fault, not the media? If you want the media to be nice, then don't give them so much damn ammunition. And I mean that literally. What are we supposed to make of campaign staffers who are anonymously admitting that they are essentially baby-sitting a tantrum-prone candidate?
But this segment (and really, who could have predicted that Jennifer frickin' Rubin would ever be the Voice of Reason?) points to a much larger problem. How will we be able to continue together as a country when we live in such parallel universes? How do we get to a point where we have our own truths but operate from the same facts?