Monday, November 5, 2012

Echo Chambers and Ideologues

Among the things that have been made clear to many this election season: quite a few folks out there are listening to an array of sources that echo each other without any solid grounds for what they say. And many of those folks are taking the seeing of that echo reflected on the many sites as if it were proof that what's echoing around those sites were true. Meanwhile, many have begun to wrongly dismiss as "biased" even the most reputable sources that would disagree with their preferred beliefs ... merely because those reputable sources challenge certain preconceptions.

For instance, challenge a climate change denier and one is likely only to encourage them to even more thoroughly embrace others who are likewise making similar claims in denial. Perhaps that's the true secret of success behind the growth of the right-wing sources.

In "Chart of the Day: The Power of the Right-Wing Echo Chamber", Kevin Drum explores a chart that demonstrates the effect of this tendency regarding job numbers. It begs the question: among those who are listening to this "echo chamber", what could possibly shake them from those among their beliefs that can be dis-proven? When proof just leads to ever more vociferous rejection, what can bring re-evaluation of those preconceptions?

While the truth tends to rest somewhere in the middle, that can only be so when the sides are balanced. Once one side abandons its extreme for that middle where the truth lies, the truth doesn't shift to the new middle between the side that held fast and the side that moved to the truth. But how can we shake loose a side that persistently rejects the true middle?

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