I read this the other day and it stuck with me: the media are in the business of flattering their audiences.
Another way of saying it is: they tell people what they want to hear.
They all do it. First, they research a market and find out what people think. Then they tailor a media program around telling those people things they already believe are true.
Which would you rather be told:
a) All the stuff you already know is correct;
b) You’re dumb as a rock and all us smart people will set you straight.
Most prefer “a” (though there is money to be made in “b” — in all the “Dummies” books, for example.)
It’s been my experience that every point of view has compelling counter-arguments. My other experience is that every ideology obliges me to ignore these counterarguments, no matter how compelling. That’s why I’ve begun to tune out the ideological media — their goal is to turn a buck by flattering my prejudices, telling me everything I already believe true is gospel and everybody else is an idiot. I go through life finding out I’m wrong at least as often as I’m right, so I don’t need anybody telling me how gall-durn smart I am, or how gall-durn stupid everybody else is.
This is money to be made in the media telling “both sides.” That’s essentially what all mainstream newspapers and newscasts are trying to do. But “both sides” don’t add up to reality.
We don’t live on a two-sided coin; we live on a planet.