Am I in an echo chamber? Am I in an echo chamber?


#1

I force myself to read Fox news daily so I can try to understand how others view the days’ events.
Can WTF consider offering a synopsis of how Trump supporters see things?
Otherwise I fear that what is left of the middle ground will disappear and we will never arrive at a compromise.
Thanks.


#2

What compromise would you be looking for, and what are you willing to give up in rights to make it?


#3

I know that sounds snarky, but I’m genuinely curious. Most of the time when people talk about compromise, they don’t mean their rights, money, or lives. So what would you be willing to give up to make such a compromise that would bring us to a middle ground with Trump supporters?


#4

I intend to approach the conversation with an open mind.
Before trying to make myself understood, I will try to understand.
I don’t want to be distracted by the most obviously reprehensible character traits of our president - like how even in the midst of unprecendented and catastrophic flooding he is concerned about crowd size - and instead want to focus on the failure of politicians on both sides to address concerns that matter to the majority of Americans, regardless of party.
So the first compromise would be for me to talk less, and listen more.


(Tom ) #5

I think one of the difficulties here is that what Trump supporters believe is not the same as, like, what’s the conservative perspective on such and such a policy issue vs. the liberal perspective. Polling data is showing us that Trump supporters are largely a hard core of conspiracy theorists, and you can’t get a middle ground with people who believe in this big web of invented reality. You can’t address concerns that are about stuff that isn’t real.

I think this is one of the direst things about what 2016 did to politics – not that this wasn’t happening already, but it really crashed through in 2016. What we have now is kind of a system where one side is still a political party and the other is basically like 9/11 truthers. I don’t know how we’re going to get out of it, if we can. But I think we do have to recognize it for what it is.


#6

Right. So you’ve listened. You’re talking about compromise here, and compromise is about both sides making a sacrifice to come to an agreement. I’ve heard a lot of people talking about how we should do this, it’s just that they never follow that up with what they personally would be willing to give up, that is theirs to give up, that might bridge that gap.

When you say you want to listen, that is not really a compromise. That is the first step of the negotiation process. That’s the coming together part, before you’ve started to talk about what you want versus what they want, and the following give and take. The compromise itself is “settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions.” The question I have to those who say we have to do it is “what are you willing to concede?” You can listen till your ears fall off, but no compromise is reached until you stop listening and start dealing.

For example: The Democratic party has suggested that they are willing to fund candidates who speak and vote against abortion as a “compromise”. But that is not a compromise for them because they are bargaining with someone else’s right. Those who make that decision lose nothing, they only gamble with the agency of others. Pick any issue you like, and it’s the same. Right to marry? Right to clean water? Right to food? Right to a trial? What would you be willing to sell those things for?

Because that is the looming question right now, when it comes to compromise with the average Trump supporter. They do not believe in the EPA. They are down with racial profiling. Marriage is between a man and woman. They feel like Trump needs more power, not less, to do the things he wants.

What would you, personally, let go of as a right?


#7

Celena - your point is well taken.
I’m looking to learn what people who don’t think like I do think.
So before I consider what I want and can give up, I want to determine what differences might be most expeditiously overcome.
That is what I meant by the echo chamber - I can hear myself think. I want to hear others think.

Lithops - I’m afraid what you say might be true. Maybe I just need to hear it for myself to determine if there truly is no chance for coming together…


(Matt Kiser) #8

No, sorry. I will support anybody that wants to take that on, however.

There’s a few reasons for this:

  1. I don’t think trying to curate and make sense of the partisan media ecosystem really makes, well, sense. Partisan media is proactively curating their worldview as it is, framing and re-contextualizing a set of facts to fit an agenda (however noble or reprehensible). That doesn’t really serve the people – it just serves to further confirm your worldview. This was weaponized during the election (and I’ll argue it was weaponized long before that, but it was far less egregious or impactful).
  2. I simply don’t have the time. I’m just one dude trying to make this all work. I’m aggressively burning the candle at both ends right now trying to get things into a stable place so I can bring some people in and make this a sustainable project for however long this is necessary, both financially as well as emotionally.
  3. And finally, I’m not sure I agree with the premise that WTFJHT is an echo chamber. Yes, it’s not “fair and balanced” – it’s inherently biased as it’s one person’s view of the world from a skeptical-trying-to-make-sense-of-it-all viewpoint. It’s also not comprehensive – WTFJHT tracks the daily White House news. That’s it. It has never tried to do anything other than that. If you’re using WTFJHT to replace your world, national, and local news, you’ve made a mistake.

Fundamentally, I see WTFJHT as no different than a local news beat reporter. Instead of reporting specifically on high school football, I’m covering the White House. That’s it.

-Matt


I am the guy behind WTFJHT. Ask Me Anything
#9

Understood.
Thanks for taking the time to reply.


#10

That’s a real problem, isn’t it? They refuse to leave their elitist bubble, whereas I believe we value facts and compassion.


(Jeannine Cheek) #11

Great conversation. I am wondering why “compromise” keeps coming up in conversations. We don’t change our convictions even when there is a compromise. I don’t think we should be trying to change what other people believe. That doesn’t happen in most marriages. We should be looking for a way to live with the differences, admit them, and then get to work to fix things.


#12

In my experience, people who say we should live with our differences are very rarely people with marginalized identities who will have to take on the consequences.


(Matt Kiser) #13

If privileged folk were accepting, marginalized folk wouldn’t have to beg for compromise – they’d simply be accepted.


#14

I believe there are privileged and marginalized people on both sides of the divide. My next step will be to approach not confront my fellow American to try to find out what we have in common and where our interests diverge.


#15

Okay, my brain is having some trouble with this one. Who is marginalized on the Trump-supporting side?


#16

Celena - it is my understanding from everything I have read and heard (across a spectrum of news sites) that districts in what has been dismissed as flyover country have been neglected, marginalized and belittled. It may be hard to believe but some of the people that voted for Trump last voted for Obama.


#17

I don’t think any state that ultimately went for Trump had no blue districts whatsoever. But chances are, those marginalized who DID vote for Trump probably wouldn’t again, which to me at least means they no longer count as Trump supporters. I know an exception to this, so I know it’s not 100% across the board, but then again he is pretty racist. And by pretty racist I mean “holy shit you want to kill all of who now?”

But again, you’re not going to compromise with that guy. He is completely set in his ways and his views for reasons and he is NOT going to change them. It has nothing to do with healthcare or wealth distribution or or the environment; he is a single-issue voter and that is his issue, and I know because I tried.

I don’t talk to him anymore and sometimes that makes me sad, but seriously I have no time for that shit in my life.


(Boundless Informant) #18

But again, you’re not going to compromise with that guy. He is completely set in his ways and his views for reasons and he is NOT going to change them. It has nothing to do with healthcare or wealth distribution or or the environment; he is a single-issue voter and that is his issue, and I know because I tried.

What’s his single issue?


#19

I believe you will find that issue in the paragraph above the one you quoted.


#20

I do think it’s worth understanding what drives those people, because, at the heart of it, they don’t see themselves as evil. A lot of the time, what gets them there is believing what we consider to be lies. The real work is getting them to understand where the misconceptions lie.

They’re not often receptive to information, but sometimes, there are those who question things, and if you seek to understand their logic, you can see where they’re tripping up and falling into bigot town.

Also, if you understand what motivates them, what they consider to be reasonable, you can rest much easier when disagreeing with them, especially if you know exactly why they say or think the things they do. Nothing is more frustrating than interacting with someone completely irrational. If you can’t find a method to their madness, that itself can be maddening.

That’s my experience with things, anyway.

tl;dr
They’re wrong, but it’s good to know why they’re wrong.