Sunday, 26 January 2020

Bubbles and vortexes

Summary: People on the Left follow mostly left-leaning
news. People on the Right follow both right and left-leaning news
I’m not sure that “bubble” is a good metaphor for people caught up in their own world, unaware of things outside their circle. Why not? Because when a bubble is pricked, it pops. So, taking the metaphor along a bit, if your bubble is pricked you should feel a sudden enlightenment: “Oooh, riiight! So that’s what the world is like!”  But it doesn’t work like that, does it? People who are in a bubble, if they ever do become enlightened, do so slowly, painfully sometimes. It’s rarely a “pop!”.
So I think a better metaphor is a “vortex”, definition: “a whirling mass of liquid or air, like a whirlpool or whirlwind”. The key thing is: a vortex can be more or less powerful. It can strengthen or abate. Views can strengthen or moderate.
So imma going ahead and call yesterday’s Don Lemon show on CNN, an “opinion vortex“, a powerful left-circulating one.
The scene is: Don hosting a panel discussing the results of that day’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
The four panelists:
  • John Dean: CNN Political Analyst
  • Frank Bruni: CNN News Analyst. 
  • Laura Coates: CNN Legal Analyst
  • Catherine Rampell:  CNN Opinion Analyst
So: each of these people is a “CNN Contributor”.  Each takes a salary from CNN. So when Don Lemon asked their thoughts on Adam Schiff’s presentation to the Senate, they all thought it was “marvellous”, “persuasive”, a “master class” -- quelle surprise! Then the Don switched to two outside talking heads both Democrats; one Sen. Chris Coons, the other I don’t recall. And each, again, spoke about how wonderful Schiff’s presentations was.
By the way, make up your own mind.....
I switched to Fox. They had also covered the speech in full, and as commenters had conservative leaning folks, including “Fox Contributors”.  But... this is the critical difference, they did have, over the course of the next hour, several commenters who were either of the left or straight out Democrats.
I’m not wanting to carry water for Fox. They have their own clear biases. But, they do have other voices, whereas CNN does not. And yet, the public perception, I’m guessing, would be that the one in a “bubble” is Fox. Indeed, Don Lemon said exactly that, when I switched back to CNN. (Lemon also claimed that Fox had not brodcast the Schiff presentation to the Senate. That’s wrong. They did).
Don Lemon so far in the bubble, he doesn’t know he’s in a bubble. The vortex is swirling so strongly he doesn’t know he’s in it.
The chart at the top makes the point.  People on the Left read almost exclusively left of centre news. People on the Right read both left and right of centre news.
On the Political compass I come out as Left Libertarian. I read and watch around a subject. I’ve got my own confirmation bias; everyone does. I try to stay aware that there’s a vortex out there, waiting to catch you in its rip tides.
People like Don Lemon, and most of his cronies, don’t even know. Maybe they don’t even suspect.
ADDED (30/1): Don Lemon disgraces himself in company....issues non-apology apology....which is then fact-checked