Only getting news from sources that bolster our opinions ends up limiting our knowledge and perspectives.
Many of us get our news from articles shared on Facebook or from CNN notifications on our phones. Often, we don’t spend time delving into current events after reading or hearing about them for the first time. However, understanding current events at a purely surface level, especially in this political climate, won’t do you much good.
I currently have the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and CNN news apps downloaded on my phone. In my downtime, I scan headlines, morning briefings, and check out articles that seem interesting or relevant. But I can’t say I do much more than read those sources and watch MSNBC. As a consequence of this, I don’t always have a full understanding of the issues.
The news sites I–and probably many of us in Evanston–read from, are often objective or more left-leaning. If your politics are more right-leaning, you may be the opposite. This limits our understanding of world events. I’m not saying that you should look at other news sites because you should change your mind about politics. But it’s easy for us to hear an argument from the other side of the political spectrum and think it’s completely absurd and illogical. If, however, we take a look at some news from different sources, that could change. Perhaps we could come to understand the other view a little bit better. Then, you can either use that information to be more understanding of the other side, or you can use it to strengthen your own arguments. If you know what the opposing argument is, you may understand exactly what you need in order to counter those ideas.
For those on the conservative side, try and read an article on The Huffington Post about how great Hillary’s post-election hike in the woods was. And if you’re more liberal, see if you can make it through one of Tomi Lahren’s segments on how Black Lives Matter is “reverse racist” or how she “doesn’t see color.”
It may feel comfortable to keep reading, watching, or listening to the news that sides with your opinions. It may even make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable to read opposing viewpoints. If that’s your case, don’t spend time torturing yourself with frightening headlines.
But if we are informed on the unbiased facts, the left-leaning opinion and the right-leaning opinion, we will all be more informed citizens. We’ll be more able to protect ourselves against threats to our safety, and we’ll also be able to make our own informed decisions. I encourage you to try and understand opposing viewpoints, even if they seem absurd to you. You don’t have to agree with them, but it’s good to know why people have the beliefs they do. This practice will lead to respectful, informed discussions of current events. Simply spewing facts you’re unsure of won’t get us anywhere.
If you feel like you don’t have time to do any of that kind of thing, I beg to differ. Next time you find your thumb reaching for that Instagram icon, reach it towards a news app instead. News is more accessible than it’s ever been. Spend a little of the time every day that you’d spend on social media reading or watching news. We can’t live in the dark, and we can’t live in the comfort of our one-sided media outlets. If we don’t branch out, we will never understand each other.