What better way to discredit something than to call it "fake news?" What better way to subtly deride your political opposition by bemoaning the "post-truth world" that we now live in?
It seems difficult to argue against the idea that fake news plays a larger role in our society today than it did 10 or 20 years ago. But there's a risk to thinking that we are in some unique moment in history, or having false nostalgia for some time back in the day when everything was trustworthy and you didn't have to be a discerning reader.
The good news: fake news may come in historical cycles that ebb and flow. That’s also the bad news.
I know I've been on a Trump streak lately. (Not a Trump Steak, luckily.) But a lot about Trump and Russia has come out in the past two weeks. Just as every bit of news about Trump inspires some quite excitable reactions from just about everyone, this has, too.
There's a bit of a spectrum on how people are interpreting what's coming out. On the one hand, there's a Witch Hunt, which may or may not involve everyone from the Deep State to most news organizations to George Soros. On the other hand, Trump is actually whole-cloth puppet of Putin--either by bribing or blackmail, he actually works for Russia and anything that is not Putin's personal agenda is a distraction. I'm going to make the case that both of these are fairly popular positions. See:
would. Her very personal, anecdotal, no-BS approach to human connection vs. tribalism is a great compliment to our own work and probably a good way to reach people who aren't as responsive to ReConsider's brass-tacks take.
I wanted to pass along a bit of what I'd taken away from it. I believe I've become a more compassionate and (thereby) more effective discusser of politics for having read her work.
It's not an easy thing to defend Trump's character. Regardless of your feelings or your belief about the validity of the scandals themselves, Trump's full year of presidency has been far more scandal-laden than any term. The fact that his base isn't eroding tells us a lot about the state of politics today.
Many folks on both sides of the political spectrum will tell you that the reason their political opposition doesn't agree with them is a lack of education. This can go as far as groaning about uneducated (typically either poor rural or poor urban) hordes voting en masse after being fooled. Education, therefore, is the fix for the crippling political divide we have. If people are educated, they'll agree on the facts, and we'll be able to move forward.
Politics tap into an unusual mixture of reason and emotion. We want to have the right answer, which requires a neutral interpretation of information and events. However, it is human nature to want to feel like we have the right answer, especially when the topic is something we care deeply about.
There is a disconnect between the pure detachment required for cool-headed discussion and the often uncontrollable emotions that are part of our nature. This is why an impassioned speech can sway huge groups of individuals better than an exceptionally well-informed but detached policy paper.
How can we train ourselves to think more effectively about politics?
The Senate tax reform bill that just passed has many changes, but one that took some flak was an apparent tax cut for private jet owners. As is often the case, the story is more complicated than it seems at first blush. All another reminder to be critical about what you read, no matter how you lean politically.
However, there are a few key issues that Kasy gets wrong. Kasy outlines that liberal facts don't work on conservatives because conservatives care about process and liberals care about outcomes. The two big things that Kasy gets wrong reveal a deeper issue in his mind (and maybe those of people across the political spectrum) that will actually continue to prevent someone like Kasy from breaking through to conservatives. That said, this thinking can apply to both sides of the spectrum.
We've long made the case that when you're Wedged, you've been manipulated into losing sight of your own political priorities. We've encouraged you to do work to get back in touch with them--and finally we've come across a tool that can guide you--and the country--through that process.
"Once again?" You say. Oh yes, I do. If you're a typical political news reader, you either saw a whole lot about golf in the past 8 years (and then nothing) or pretty much nothing about golf and then a whole lot just now.
So let's look at now: Trump golfs, probably more than many other presidents have golfed. People are mad that he golfs. Did you know it's costing taxpayer dollars? Shouldn't he be busy fighting ISIS?
What slackers, am I right? We'd better spend energy keeping track of which president golfed more frequently, so we can stock up on some good political points that we'll use later to accomplish nothing at all.
You know arguing with people doesn't really work. Presenting people with facts that contradict their beliefs actually backfires and causes them to dig in more. But there are people outside of politics whose well-being and next meal depend on opening people's minds: they're in sales. Their job, over and over, requires getting people to open their minds to the idea of parting with their hard-earned money in exchange for a thing... often, a thing they didn't know existed until just now!