A political thought to ponder
A political thought to ponder
Different parts of the country view the political scene differently. One has only to look at the political map on election night to know the truth of that statement.
Red States and Blue States are sectional in location. We can count on New York and the New England area to be blue along with the west coast, California, Oregon, and Washington State.
One could paint the Midwest and the South with one big red six-inch paint brush.
Those colors denote political biases. For example, South Carolina is a red state. In 2008 more than 70 percent of the population voted for someone other than Barak Obama for president. In 2012, that percentage was a less biased 56 percent. Do you think the news media is influenced by the political leanings of the population it serves? Oh yes!
Newspapers are businesses like any other and they make their living on the number of people who subscribe and those who purchase advertisements. They are acutely aware of the biases of the population they serve and strive to give us what we want and, in some cases, what we agree with.
Years of writing this column have taught me that if I write a column that is critical of President Obama and have it published in the 300-plus newspapers of the syndication I work with, I will get very little negative response from readers from across the South and Midwest. By contrast, I could expect a computer full of upset responses from Massachusetts, New York, and California. If I wrote something complimentary about the president the reverse would be true.
Many of us take our home town newspaper and, perhaps, a more regional newspaper from a close-by city. The point of view expressed on the editorial page in both newspapers is likely to be pretty consistent. In contrast, if you were to read New York or Los Angeles newspapers you might get a very different viewpoint.
The point of all of this is that we are victims of our environment. When 70 percent of your friends and the news media in your region has a particular bias, over time we tend to reflect that bias.
A few weeks back I stood at the edge of a discussion of the first Republican presidential debate. Opinions on the various candidates were expressed by the three people involved. Finally, one voice stood out over the others. It said, “I don’t care which of the 17 candidates becomes president, they will do a better job than the one who holds that office now.”
He made that statement without fear of disagreement from his friends in the conversation. Had he made the same statement in a group of people from California or New York he might have had an argument on his hands.
Considering that the person expressing that opinion, like all the rest of us, is a victim of his environment and the influences of the news media in that environment, would he say the same thing if he were under other influences? Stated differently, would a person who was influenced by the news media in the northeast or the southwest in our country express that same opinion?
We have a large and diverse country. Opinions vary and biases are expressed in the news media, some from the left and others from the right.
The broader our sources of information and the more information we get from a variety of national sources the more likely we are to have a well-rounded perspective of reality. We all have a responsibility to be as well informed as possible as we enter another election cycle. More sources of information are better than fewer and variety in news information makes for a better informed citizenry. In many ways we are our own worst enemy as regards forming our opinions. It was the comic strip, Pogo, that said, “We have sighted the enemy and he is us.”