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I had a fascinating visit with a patient this morning. He is a retired college professor, and (surprise!) is an extremely vocal Democrat. He brings up politics in all his conversations, regardless of the topic. He reads the New York Times every day, watches CNN all the time, and he complains that many voters are so uninformed. “These people don’t know the truth! They’re not even interested in the truth! But still, they go vote! And of course, they vote Republican. If they opened their minds and put just a little effort into learning the truth, they wouldn’t vote Republican. I can’t believe people like that are even allowed to vote!

Part of his physical exam today was a screening test for Alzheimer’s. As I sat down to give him the results from his test, he sarcastically said, “Did I beat Trump? Ha!” I smiled and said that I wasn’t sure, but I was certain that he scored better than Joe Biden. He looked genuinely surprised and asked if I thought Mr. Biden might be having mental problems. I do not discuss politics at work, and I didn’t want to talk about this. I wanted to talk about his Alzheimer’s test (he got a perfect score). So I changed the subject as fast as I could. But it was obvious that he honestly didn’t know that there was some question of Mr. Biden’s mental functioning. Remember, he reads the New York Times every day and watches CNN all the time. He is dedicated to staying informed about things and commits a lot of time to reading about current events. And he had no idea.

He says that many people are so uninformed that they shouldn’t be allowed to vote. But he is completely uninformed. And he votes.

I may be biased because I like the guy, but I really don’t think this is completely his fault. He does put significant time and effort into staying informed. He uses mainstream sources with long-standing reputations as reputable sources – he’s not getting wild conspiracy theories from the far-left fever swamps of the internet. He’s reading The New York Times. He’s watching CNN.

So he considers himself to be well-informed. Understandably.

Very few Russians who read Pravda consider themselves to be well informed. They know it’s biased, so they take that into consideration when they read it.

This guy thinks his sources are neutral. Pretty much, at least. And many people share this view.

And of course, Facebook and Twitter are simply file sharing sites, where people can share ideas with one another. How could they be biased? And Google is just a search engine. How could that be biased?

Imagine if our media treated both political parties with equal skepticism. Just imagine. I suspect that Republicans would win the presidency easily, nearly every time.

I also suspect that the Democrat party would not be this far left. Because they just couldn’t be. Once the media reports how far-out leftist they are, no one will vote for them.

But they know that their extremism will go un-reported. So their party slides further and further to left. There are no brakes.

Without a functioning media, who holds our leaders accountable?

Nobody. That’s who.

So my patient continues to work at staying informed, while he is actually uninformed. Or, more precisely, misinformed. And he continues to criticize those who don’t share his interest in the truth. Understandably.

I wish he would open his mind a bit, but his comfortable illusion is so easy for him to maintain. He doesn’t even have to try. Everywhere he looks, he sees the same thing. No disturbing contradictions. Everything is comfortably consistent. I’m sure that’s very nice.

Getting these people out of their shells will be uncomfortable for them. Change is always uncomfortable, and admitting that one is not as smart as one thinks is extremely uncomfortable.

I don’t really see a solution here. He’s been immersed in this world of ubiquitous leftism for years. And the more young people graduate from these schools who have been similarly immersed in this world of ubiquitous leftism for years, the greater the percentage of simply automatic Democrat voters we have. We can’t convince them to get informed, because they think they already are. Understandably.

No wonder they think the rest of us are stupid. Or insane. Or evil. Our behavior makes no sense in their world. It just doesn’t fit.

We make their comfortably consistent world less comfortable for them. No wonder they prefer that we don’t participate in their comfortably consistent world.

They think it’s better without us.

Understandably.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’m tired of pouncing. When a Republican screws up, the headline reads Republican Screws Up. When a Democrat screws up X, the headline reads Republicans Pounce on [the democrat who screwed up] For X. That is, if they report it at all.

    They marvel on the difficulties of “unintended consequences” instead of recognizing them properly: as “stuff that the conservatives warned us would happen.”

    What subject did this professor teach?

    • #1
    • October 14, 2020, at 5:45 PM PDT
    • 21 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    Dr. Bastiat: We make their comfortably consistent world less comfortable for them.

    That should be their first clue they are living in bubbles of lies. The world should never be either comfortable or consistent. It’s not that kind of place.

    • #2
    • October 14, 2020, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 19 likes
  3. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat

    Percival (View Comment):
    What subject did this professor teach?

    He taught at Michigan State. He taught something like Agriculture. Maybe Agronomy? Not the typical leftist stuff like Sociology or something. 

    • #3
    • October 14, 2020, at 5:51 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Your patient may not live in New York, but his unswerving loyalty to The New York Times is very upper middle class-ist (and Upper West Side) New Yorkish thinking, which — at least at the local and state levels — has been hard to break through on when there is a Republican in higher office to blame for all the world’s ills.

    What that means is if the guy doesn’t like the way things are going in the world or in his own life, and Trump is sitting there as a big target to lump all the blame onto, the Times will do it and get their readers’ support, to where, say, in the current environment, all of the riots, looting and arson in deep Blue cities in Blue states with Democratic mayors and governors is still Trump’ fault. The only chance you really have to get someone like that to have a bout of cognitive dissonance are years like 1993-94 or 2009-10, where the Democrats control all levers of power.

    If the guy in that situation doesn’t like the way things are going in the world or in his own life, and there’s not a GOPer in office anywhere to point the finger at, that’s when there’s a chance he’ll look at the Times trying to Chip Diller him into thinking all is well, and suddenly realize the paper might possibly have an agenda to tout one political side under any and all circumstances. From the NYC angle, it was how Giuliani managed to get elected in 1993 when the Times was trashing him as a virulent racist (who, because the city’s turnaround by 1997 was so undeniable, especially around their Times Square headquarters, the Gray Lady had to hold their nose and endorse for re-election).

    The negative consequences for the country of the Democrats controlling all levers of power in 2021-22 isn’t worth the trade-off. But if that happens and things are bad in ’22, that’s when your patient might stop believing the Times.

    • #4
    • October 14, 2020, at 6:10 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    What subject did this professor teach?

    He taught at Michigan State. He taught something like Agriculture. Maybe Agronomy? Not the typical leftist stuff like Sociology or something.

    But he’s been bathed in it, if he’s taught at the college level, and not in the hard sciences or engineering realms. Bathed in it, so like a fish, he doesn’t understand the concept of water. It’s just what’s always there.

    That’s true on the other side of the aisle, too, it’s just that CNN, the mainstream media, colleges, and unfortunately now corporations big and small that are in that same fish tank, and it’s much bigger than the right’s version. The most glaring example is the Russia hoax, which has been completely discredited, and now even points to potential criminal activity in the former Obama administration, and Hillary herself. But if you ask the average Democrat, they’ll say “Russia” meaning “Trump colluded with Russia” on the election or trying to invade the Ukraine and bomb Hunter Biden, or something.

    But you won’t get the truth, because they’ve been bathed in a lie, promulgated by those who proudly thump themselves on the back at every turn, secure in the knowledge that they are the ones keeping an eye on the gov’t for us. The Fourth Estate. The accountable ones.

    Yessirree Bob. They’re the ones you can trust.

    • #5
    • October 14, 2020, at 6:15 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor

    The advantage for Republicans is that we can’t avoid learning what the Left is being told. Their media is ubiquitous, and even the most ardent anti-Left person knows what they think. But they never check out the sources we go to. They’d actually have to go looking for them, and they would probably be so alarmed at the “lies” we believe that they’d immediately return to their comfortable caves. So in a sense we understand (sort of) both sides simply because we can’t shut them out completely. I guess it’s good to know what the enemy is up to.

    • #6
    • October 14, 2020, at 6:16 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  7. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    What subject did this professor teach?

    He taught at Michigan State. He taught something like Agriculture. Maybe Agronomy? Not the typical leftist stuff like Sociology or something.

    People whose specialty is more likely to be covered by the media are more likely to be aware of the Gell-Man Amnesia Effect. Agronomy probably doesn’t generate much news in the Times, except in the Science and Technology section, and that infrequently. Wading through swamps of twaddle builds a healthy skepticism. 

    • #7
    • October 14, 2020, at 6:23 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    What subject did this professor teach?

    He taught at Michigan State. He taught something like Agriculture. Maybe Agronomy? Not the typical leftist stuff like Sociology or something.

    People whose specialty is more likely to be covered by the media are more likely to be aware of the Gell-Man Amnesia Effect. Agronomy probably doesn’t generate much news in the Times, except in the Science and Technology section, and that infrequently. Wading through swamps of twaddle builds a healthy skepticism.

    He’d probably have contempt for people whose ideas about nutrition were formed by watching McDonald’s ads but his belief in the NYT is really no better founded. If it’s even that well founded.

    • #8
    • October 14, 2020, at 7:17 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Nohaaj Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I guess it’s good to know what the enemy is up to.

    We have been forced into into this war like response because war is in fact being waged. A little over four years ago, one of my best friends sons, whom I had had considerable interaction with: weekend boy scout camping, mutual business travel in China, family dinners, etc,; commented that “Trump supporters needed to be punched in the face”. This was in response to my shock that some students attacked a Pitt U. Conservative group that was handing out Trump fliers.

    That was four years ago. Today the vitriol and violent actions by the left leave no doubt they are at war. I have just recently deactivated my FB account. It is a hate filled cesspool, where if you show even a hint of support for Trump, you are labeled racist, bigot, ignorant, fascist, Nazi. 

    The Left feels justified and vindicated in their aggressive and violent actions of – war. I believe even this geriatric patient, who likely would never pick up a pitchfork against conservatives, feels that the active war being carried out in the streets by others is warranted, sad, but understandable.

    We conservatives talk a good game about “if they ever show up in our neighborhood” but our rhetoric is mere puffery compared to the actions of the violent left.

    None of us want to go down that path of really declaring the Left the enemy. Bu they have, for a very long time, believed and acted like we are. 

    • #9
    • October 14, 2020, at 8:07 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  10. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Percival (View Comment):
    I’m tired of pouncing. When a Republican screws up, the headline reads Republican Screws Up. When a Democrat screws up X, the headline reads Republicans Pounce on [the democrat who screwed up] For X. That is, if they report it at all.

    Sometimes we seize, but yeah.

    • #10
    • October 14, 2020, at 8:10 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. EB Thatcher

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    unswerving loyalty to The New York Times

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with one of my husband’s cousins in London. She made some astoundingly liberal comment that was totally off the mark. I said, “You don’t get out much, do you? I guess you get all your news from the BBC.” She proceeded to tell me that the BBC wasn’t biased. And mind you — this was two weeks after they admitted IN PRINT that their own internal investigation had distressingly showed that they WERE biased.

    My husband had told me one time that he, too, had thought the BBC and The Times were unbiased until he travelled to South Africa on business. His girlfriend at the time called him from London very upset about the riots, looting, burning, and murders, going on in Johannesburg. He was mystified and asked her what she was talking about. It was all from the BBC and The Times. That was when the scales began to fall from his eyes. (Now he thinks that most reporters should be given striped pajamas and put to work breaking rocks.)

    • #11
    • October 14, 2020, at 8:56 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  12. Arthur Beare Member

    Many, many intelligent, well-meaning people (including my own grown children) are like your patient. The left controls the old-line, respected media, NYT WaPo, etc. 

    We are so screwed

    • #12
    • October 14, 2020, at 9:34 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  13. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dr. B,

    In the 1950s the left used to complain about “the man in the grey flannel suit”. This guy was supposed to be a total right-wing conformist type who was immersed in corporate think. Now we have the left-wing conformist type who is immersed in woke media think. Of course, there is a difference. The modern woketard left-wing conformist idiot has a lot more money and power than any guy in a grey flannel suit ever had in the 1950s.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
    • October 14, 2020, at 9:42 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  14. Tex929rr Coolidge

     I did some searching and you are absolutely correct – I dare anyone to find a NYT reference to Biden’s cognitive challenges. I figured there would at least be something critical of the right for even mentioning it, but instead they are covering their ears saying “lalalalala”.

    @jon1979 should get some sort of award for the Chip Diller reference. It took me a half second or so to get it.

    • #14
    • October 15, 2020, at 6:13 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    What subject did this professor teach?

    He taught at Michigan State. He taught something like Agriculture. Maybe Agronomy? Not the typical leftist stuff like Sociology or something.

    LOL.

    A leftist teaching Agriculture.

    I guess he missed that whole collectivization, Holodomor thing.

    • #15
    • October 15, 2020, at 6:21 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  16. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    Many, many intelligent, well-meaning people (including my own grown children) are like your patient. The left controls the old-line, respected media, NYT WaPo, etc.

    We are so screwed

    They control the main stream news. And the culture with Hollywood, the Music Industry, Theatre, the Arts. And the public schools down to kindergarten and the universities. And Big Tech is throwing it’s full weight of censorship and distortion behind the Left. Yeah, we are screwed.

    • #16
    • October 15, 2020, at 6:24 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  17. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    What subject did this professor teach?

    He taught at Michigan State. He taught something like Agriculture. Maybe Agronomy? Not the typical leftist stuff like Sociology or something.

    LOL.

    A leftist teaching Agriculture.

    I guess he missed that whole collectivization, Holodomor thing.

    The Soviets did a great job in agronomy. They put it all under a government-certified genius named Trofim Lysenko.

    Unfortunately, ol’ Trofim was a puddinhead. But he was a credentialed puddinhead!

    • #17
    • October 15, 2020, at 6:52 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  18. Freeven Member
    FreevenJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    Many, many intelligent, well-meaning people (including my own grown children) are like your patient. The left controls the old-line, respected media, NYT WaPo, etc.

    We are so screwed

    They control the main stream news. And the culture with Hollywood, the Music Industry, Theatre, the Arts. And the public schools down to kindergarten and the universities. And Big Tech is throwing it’s full weight of censorship and distortion behind the Left. Yeah, we are screwed.

    This has been my default outlook for several years now. But every now and then — when I get just the right amount of sleep, and I’ve managed to mix my coffee just how I like it — I can almost hear an echo of a whisper bubbling up out of the darkness. “Reality is conservative,” it says. And for a moment, I allow myself to believe there is hope.

    • #18
    • October 15, 2020, at 6:53 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  19. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat

    Percival (View Comment):
    But he was a credentialed puddinhead!

    Not an entirely unknown species in modern universities…

    • #19
    • October 15, 2020, at 6:53 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. PHCheese Member

    I once was told by a friend who leans left that I only seek out conservative news and ideas. My answer was that it’s true. We are bombarded from the left media every minute and their lies and deceit. One must search for the truth.

    • #20
    • October 15, 2020, at 6:58 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  21. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    But he was a credentialed puddinhead!

    Not an entirely unknown species in modern universities…

    Do you suppose Dr. Fauci has ever heard of Trofim?

    • #21
    • October 15, 2020, at 7:01 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. Stad Thatcher

    Dr. Bastiat: Part of his physical exam today was a screening test for Alzheimer’s. As I sat down to give him the results from his test, he sarcastically said, “Did I beat Trump? Ha!” I smiled and said that I wasn’t sure, but I was certain that he scored better than Joe Biden.

    Priceless . . .

    • #22
    • October 15, 2020, at 7:39 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  23. SpiritO'78 Member

    It’s easy to get discouraged about the assault from the MSM but nothing lasts forever-including their grip of the narrative. Hopefully for the country we figure it out before the election. If the democrats can run a candidate like this who can hardly put 2 sentences together and win, they’ll never need to run a real one again.

    • #23
    • October 15, 2020, at 8:03 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  24. Old Bathos Moderator

    Republicans have to make a real effort to avoid the leftist narrative. It is regurgitated everywhere. In contrast, lefties can easily stay in the bubble because other than free world websites, a few AM radio guys and Fox News the truth about Biden is simply not discussed. You have to make an effort to find it.

    Take a survey of apolitical and lefty acquaintances and see if they recognize 

    Dog-faced pony soldier
    Black children stroking leg hairs underwater

    I will bet you they will not have heard those. When Biden’s gaffes are reluctantly discussed, the MSM cleverly selects only those that are old or innocuous. Oh, that Joe… and then scoffs at the silly idea he is demented despite daily visual evidence.

    Evan Thomas (one of the last grownups to work at Newsweek) once quipped that media bias is worth 10-15 percentage points for Democrats. Everybody said that was ridiculously high but I think it is proving to be spot on. There is no way in hell, Harris or Biden could withstand the level of press scrutiny, spin, and overt hostility that is Trump’s daily experience.

    • #24
    • October 15, 2020, at 8:21 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  25. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    There is no way in hell, Harris or Biden could withstand the level of press scrutiny, spin, and overt hostility that is Trump’s daily experience.

    So true.

    • #25
    • October 15, 2020, at 8:27 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  26. BillAndrews Coolidge

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I once was told by a friend who leans left that I only seek out conservative news and ideas. My answer was that it’s true. We are bombarded from the left media every minute and their lies and deceit. One must search for the truth.

    Your last line is exactly spot on. Critical research and critical thinking are no longer taught to our young people. They are engulfed by the MSM (what’s left of it) and social media drivel to believe that social issues are paramount to the morals and values that create an individual. The leftist philosophy is so pervasive in our system that conservatism seems to be constantly swimming against the tide. I am always surprised that someone can actually believe what they espouse. We speak what we are fed.

    • #26
    • October 15, 2020, at 8:36 AM PDT
    • Like
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western ChauvinistJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I can think of one way we can bring some people around. A way to influence people who still value the truth anyway (fewer and fewer of those on the Left). It’s the way it happened to me with regard to the media.

    A trusted friend pointed me to an article about a pipeline the Russians were trying to negotiate traversing the Black Sea and then through Turkey, and all the implications of that (this was many years ago, so I may have the details wrong). It was posted in a Christian paper, so I read it with some skepticism — yeah, yeah, some paranoid right-wing nutters — not the “most trusted resource in news.” And then about three days later the story appeared in the news pages of the WSJ. And it occurred to me — it must be true and yet only one other (fairly neutral, not strictly conservative) news outlet was covering it. Why? 

    That was the beginning of my awakening to the lies and omissions (especially omissions) of the MSM. If we can convince people to look at something in an alternate news source (the Brits still produce more accurate news about the US than our US outlets) and then point to the 9th-page, under the fold reporting in a MSM outlet, it might open some eyes. Even the smallest concession the MSM makes to the truth needs to be highlighted.

    • #27
    • October 15, 2020, at 8:52 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. ToryWarWriter Thatcher

    I knew the New York Times had lost it, when my late father cancelled his subscription.

    Your patient sounds like he lives here.

    • #28
    • October 15, 2020, at 9:00 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  29. Full Size Tabby Member

    What will people who live in such bubbles think should the Biden/Harris ticket win the November election? Will the audience resent (and then reject) the media when the audience discovers the extent to which they have been lied to and the truth withheld from them? [I assume should the Biden/Harris ticket win the election it will become impossible to hide Mr. Biden’s state from the general public, especially once Ms. Harris’ efforts to depose him start in earnest.]

    • #29
    • October 15, 2020, at 9:11 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Cow Girl Thatcher

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    Many, many intelligent, well-meaning people (including my own grown children) are like your patient. The left controls the old-line, respected media, NYT WaPo, etc.

    We are so screwed

    I am in this same situation…my own grown children are intelligent, educated, good people who totally believe the leftist line….

    I feel so dejected. They saw me reading the newspaper daily, and keeping up on current events, and when they were teens, CNN was an actual source of real news. So, I taught them and now they don’t understand that those sources that once were reliable are no longer unbiased. 

    • #30
    • October 15, 2020, at 9:20 AM PDT
    • 3 likes