Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meta-Consuming the Political Media

The Democrat says:

Rush Limbaugh is a total jerk. Did you hear about what he said on his show the other day? I can't believe that guy has an audience. Who are the losers who could possibly stand listening to him?

The Republican says:

Keith Olberman is a sanctimonious blowhard. He should have been fired for failing to disclose that he gave money to Democratic candidates during the election. Of course that stupid liberal channel he's on brought him back after only two days. What a biased bunch of jerks.

Let's set aside the obvious truth that these people will never comprehend each other, and instead ask a simple question. Why not?

Because they only hear about each other through the filter of their own chosen media source.

For my liberal readers: Have you ever listened to more than a few minutes of Rush Limbaugh's radio show--and done it with a sincerely open mind? No? I didn't think so.

For my conservative readers: Have you actually quietly and calmly watched Olberman's show? Or Rachel Maddow's show? Heck, you could have doubled their viewership, which would be a nice act of charity. No? Never? Yep, no surprise there.

Thus each of you only hears the other side's most extreme comments, as rendered by your own media. Think about for a minute. Of course they sound idiotic.

I assure you, as much as you don't agree with Limbaugh's, Beck's or Olberman's politics, the impression of them that's given by "your" media is nothing like the actual reality of their shows.

This is why you must listen to both. You must. You cannot let the media you've chosen choose what you hear.

Otherwise you indulge in the most dangerous form of ignorance: Thinking you think for yourself.