A GREAT GULF BETWEEN US
In a recent article, entitled Get Out of the Villages!, I made reference to an “unfathomable rift that Americans have allowed to develop between themselves and fellow-Americans, due to differences in political views, etc.” Nearly every day, I witness contributions being made to further widen this self-made abyss. Recently, I saw a post on Facebook that I viewed as exemplifying this problem. Since I think it can also serve to point towards the solution needed to close this gap, I want to discuss it here.
The Facebook post in question included the photo of the nine women, shown above, along with the caption “The amazing diversity of FOX News”. The, obvious, implication is that Fox News is lacking in diversity. To me, this was so blatantly inaccurate, I immediately posted the following comment:
In case you’re not familiar with these personalities, I’ve linked each name to a related photo. That should settle the diversity question. However, settling that doesn’t do much to lessen the ongoing polarization of Americans. To get to that, we need to more closely consider the question, “Why attack Fox News in this way?”
Before addressing that question, let me say that the aim of this article is not to convert people who aren’t Fox News fans. FYI, I wouldn’t classify myself as a die-hard-fan either. In fact, there are three of their most popular personalities who I avoid watching. On the other hand, Special Report is one of my favorite news programs.
CLOSING THE GAP
OK, with that understood, let’s get back to the question, “Why attack Fox News in this way?” I closed out my comment on the Facebook post mentioned above by posing a related question: “Another case of seeing what you want to see or just another instance of presenting an acutely slanted view?” Of course, I don’t know the motives behind this Facebook post but it utilizes a tactic that seems all too common as a contributing factor to increasing the polarization of Americans. The tactic boils down to, when you’re in general disagreement with one’s point of view, instead of listening to their message, attacking the messenger, to discredit them and by doing so, debasing their message.
As indicated, this is a commonly used tactic. The reason it’s so commonly used is because it’s so effective. Sadly, its effectiveness as a debate tactic is being far outdistanced by its adverse effect on us, as a nation. I think we desperately need to adopt a much more constructive approach. My recommendation for this is one I’ve proposed as far back as an article I published December 10, 2007. It was entitled Rediscovering America’s Strength. In that article, I stated “the strength that made America great in the first place (was) the synergy of the best of our differing ideas.” In order to do that, we have to go beyond seeing what we want and presenting an acutely slanted view without even hearing what the other guy has to say. We must listen to those who don’t share our views and actually consider what they have to say. The worst that can happen is that we will have our own views validated. But, just possibly, we will pick up an angle on a topic that’s superior to ours, making our overall grasp of that topic stronger. If “the other guys” pay us the same courtesy, they gain likewise. And, if we, as a nation, make this our habit, instead of taking the “If you can’t attack the message, attack the messenger” approach, we can regain “the strength that made America great in the first place … the synergy of the best of our differing ideas.”