The following tweet resonated with me, and I wanted to comment on it:
Also: the most pervasive bias in political coverage is not left vs. right it’s “follows politics” vs. “doesn’t follow politics” By default, nearly everyone who covers politics falls into the “follows politics” category, which makes it really hard to understand people who don’tWhat are possible ways the “follows politics” people (or news junkies, as I call them) have trouble understanding the “doesn’t follow politics” folks? Here are some thoughts off the top of my head
- The politics folks have better bearings in terms of whom to trust and not trust, because they consume a lot of news on a regular basis. Casual news consumers are less confident and rely more on heuristics like consensus between experts or the political parties. For example, something is true and/or important if both parties agree. A lack of consensus can lead to confusion–and I’m not sure the politics fully appreciate this.
- Relatedly, I think the politics folks may assume that the non-politics folks are ignorant and lacking in critical thinking–basically, not very intelligent–or at least I sense a tendency to assume that. My sense is that they assume this because, for them, certain issues and events are totally clear to them–they can’t imagine how it can’t be clear to others–unless these other people aren’t very bright.
- If one is not informed, they may assume that that is their fault–either they’re lazy or lacking in intelligence. To some degree there may be truth to this, but the other possibility, more likely in my view, is these other people are just not really into politics, and they have many other pressing needs. Thinking that all low-information voters are dumb and lazy feels a lot like thinking casual sports fans are dumb and lazy if they don’t know much about Xs and Os or statistics. Yes, all citizens should care about informing themselves, but not being a news junkie doesn’t mean they don’t care enough, or does it? If a healthy republic depends on all citizens being news junkies, then I’m wondering how we survived this long.