Echo Chamber News
eople are drawn to the echo
chamber, and they want to have their
opinions validated more often than they
want to have their opinions challenged.
Campbell Brown resigned her prime time slot on CNN after being
consistently beaten in the ratings by the opinionated pundits on cable
channels such as Fox News.
Fortunately, my on-air TV news work ended before it
turned into a ratings battlefield. Even so, I have not been untouched by the
conservative and liberal forces trying to control public opinion.
Not too long ago I got a epistle by a conservative group
listing a number of points supporting their position
-- including a statement attributed to a well-known conservative personality.
I responded with several pages of indisputable evidence that clearly contracted
each of their points. The facts I laid out could
easily be checked. My reply included a quote from the person's website that they
had used in support one of their points -- a quote that clearly disavowed the view attributed to him by the people who had
I got a reply, but they didn't challenge any of my points. They
simply said, "Please don't
write us again." At that point I was taken off of their mailing list.
and time again, evidence has been given that contradicts statements by
right-wing pundits. But, as the old adage states: "I've got my mind made up,
don't confuse me with the facts."
are living in times of significant
personal and economic insecurity and
people want to hear what they prefer to
believe; they don't want to be confused
or further distressed by contradictory
number of studies support this.
To cite just one example, a recent study done by the Pew Research Center found that
people who regularly watch Fox News were far more likely to distrust
other news sources. The study found that the level of mistrust among
regular Fox News listeners went significantly beyond the attitudes of the
general population -- Republicans or Democrats.
Could it be that those other news sources include stories that they would prefer
not to hear?
The New York Times has the
motto, "All the news that's fit to print."
This seems to have been replaced in many of today's cable
news outlets by, "All the news that supports our viewpoint."
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