Gaining Different Perpectives

Like Jordi mentioned in the blog instructions, most people read or watch the news from media sources that express the same political stance that you already believe. I am guilty of this myself. I never watch the news on television, and I normally only read the Wall Street Journal. It’s only human nature to do so. It is comforting and reassuring to read articles written by people that share the same beliefs as you. Conversely, it is frustrating to read a politically article written by someone on the other side of the spectrum as you.

So regarding the government shutdown, I have read most of my news about it from articles with a conservative bias. The article “What Obama Has to Do to End the GOP Shutdown” in The Nation was the first really left-leaning article I’ve read on the topic. It was frustrating to read for two reasons. First, it is written in a way that makes it seem that Republicans are the cause of all the world’s problems and that Democrats are a model of perfection. Secondly and the main reason people do not like reading opposing view points, the article makes some very good arguments against my stance. It’s difficult to hear the flaws in your argument. It’s much easier to just have your stance validated by the news you read.

I certainly fall into the habit of only reading conservatively based news reports, and sometimes can make me narrow-minded about controversial issues between political parties. Doing this exercise was a reminder I needed to reach out more and read more articles from various news outlets to get a wider range of perspective.


10 comments on “Gaining Different Perpectives

  1. I absolutely agree- it is easy to shield our interpretations of events from arguments from “the other side.” If the pressure to commit to either the republican or democrat party didn’t exist, I bet people would have more educated ideas about political issues. I’m grateful to live in the “information age,” but I can easily surround myself with information that validates my ideas, rather than challenging them.

  2. Yes it is easy to fall into the trap of reading the same sort of articles. We all prevent ourselves from learning all the details about something such as the shutdown by reading solely from the New York Times or Wall Street Journal because writers are naturally going to leave out important details if they conflict with their views. Clearly responsibility lies on both the republicans and the democrats for the shutdown. Who really cares which party is more to blame? The real problem is just the way that our political system is set up. Our parties are just too polarized and powerful. Hopefully this will change soon, but I have my doubts

  3. I also am guilty of sometimes falling into the trap of reading a majority of articles that agree with my opinion. It feels good to see validation of my opinion from accomplished writers even though their opinion may leave out details that can help the counter argument. Reading articles on the opposite side of the spectrum is informative, but can become nauseating if everything the author says is opposite of your own belief system.

  4. I think your point about validation and being reassured from sources you know favor your argument is very strong. This entrenches you in your beliefs, and when vulnerabilities are pointed out, as you described, its difficult to hear those flaws, but crucial. Understanding a topic from multiple points of view, and understanding where the opposing mindset comes from is key in making an informed decision, and allows for far more insightful discussion on an issue.

    • Because its common place to go with what is comfortable to with us. When it comes to the media hub, most of us have blinders set to specific sources that compliment our views.

  5. I tried to find an example, but got bogged down in search terms, about The Nation being VERY critical of Obama. Can you trust me they have been on health care reform, drones, the stimulus package, gay marriage?

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