The following brief essay by Todd Tennis is reprinted with permission:
So I'm driving home listening to Sirius/XM radio and they have an ad for the upcoming presidential debate. Then they go into a pitch that really made me think.
In essence, they said that if you're a conservative, you can listen to XM Patriot. If you're a liberal, you can hear it on XM Progress.
Think liberals are scum? We have a news source for you that reinforces that belief! Think conservatives are fascists? Listen to this station here and we will prove you right!
I've been wondering for a while how it is that so many reasonably intelligent people can believe things about the world and this nation that are so diametrically opposed. It's because information in our society has been separated into two or more very distinct patterns that serve not to illuminate, but to confirm. Not to educate, but to reinforce.
The world is gray, but we are being taught that it is black or white, and anyone who says otherwise is just a filthy rotten liar.
This is how civil wars get started.
Todd Tennis is a county commissioner and partner at Capitol Services, a prominent government relations firm, where he focuses on civil law, labor, public utilities, retirement, education, childcare, consumer protection, tax policy, public benefits and poverty law. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1993. A former aide to a state senator, Todd and his wife, Jacqueline, live in Greater Lansing with their son, Troy.