Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fair and Balanced

I had a client come in last week.  Our discussion got sidetracked a little bit and he told me he didn't like the newspaper in Idaho Falls.  I asked him why, and he told me it was because the paper wasn't at all balanced.

This is NOT a liberal paper.  This is Idaho Falls, after all.  And the city's biggest newspaper, operating in a town where almost everyone is a Republican, can't afford to be liberal.

And yet it was too liberal for his taste.  That's fine.  I accept that.  I realize people like reading stuff they agree with, even if it distorts one's view of reality to only read stuff one agrees with.  But how is "moderately conservative" not balanced enough because it's too liberal?

People here are so convinced that Romney will win the election by a landslide because they know very few people not voting for him.  Lack of political diversity has contributed to the creation of an environment where anyone who believes differently is heavily stigmatized. 

A non-LDS friend, now serving the military abroad, was recently invited to an LDS picnic.  He asked on Facebook if he should wear an Obama t-shirt.  In Cincinnati, friends of ours showed up to the annual trunk-or-treat in the church parking lot with a Hillary Clinton bumper sticker.  We had a tiny ward, but a handful of members there (including some in leadership positions) were openly Democrat.  Like in Cincinnati, I don't think my friend would've had any problems showing up to the picnic in the t-shirt (his wife ultimately talked him out of it).  Unfortunately, in my Idaho county, about 90% of registered voters are Republicans.  Showing up--anywhere--with an Obama t-shirt or bumper sticker is not advisable unless you want your car keyed or public shunning.  And so "balanced" now means "far-right," and "liberal" means evil, at least here.

I'm sure conservatives living in San Francisco have the same problem.

No good comes out of demonizing the other side.  Your political foe should not be your mortal enemy.

1 comment:

Katrina said...

Definitely. Even if I don't agree with someone I don't appreciate seeing their name slandered and all sorts of bad things said about them, most of which probably aren't true. That's been bothering me about FB lately, having to scroll through all that stuff. I think it actually makes the person look bad who passes those things on.

Also, I learned 4 years ago that Ohio is a swing state for a reason. Last election one person commended us on our bumper sticker, but there were so many times I felt very conscious of it and there were even times I was worried someone might take violent action against us. But perhaps that was just the area we lived in. So I can totally understand that concern.