I continue to see polarizing videos as the United States’ political climate grows into a bigger headache every day. It starts with a zealous liberal or conservative person who attends an event — a Trump rally, pride parade, women’s march, anti-abortion protest — with people who share radically different views.
They interview participants of these events, clearly in disagreement with the purpose behind the gathering — whether that is shown through the clothing they wear to the event or the way they frame a question.
People who to go to a Bernie Sanders rally with a Make America Great Again hat or an anti-abortion protest with a shirt that read “My body, my choice” are going to get some hostile responses. These types of events are driven by passion.
The interviewer then creates and publishes a video, edited to depict those with opposing views to be aggressive, difficult or uneducated. They cherry-pick interviews and make a compilation of the most extreme.
It worries me that some viewers consider these individuals as ethical journalists and their videos as accurate news. A journalist’s job is to share perspectives honestly and fairly, not to frame everyone who attends these events in a certain light. These videos add to political polarization. They feed into confirmation bias and cause us to hate the other side(s).
In high school, I was an active member of my school’s anti-abortion club. I truly believed that what the club was fighting for was just. In college, I have done a 180 and strongly believe in a woman’s right to an abortion. It is important to note that even though I have been on both sides of the spectrum, I still battle with understanding those who disagree with me today.
Civil discourse is not easy. Aggravating people is easy. Genuinely listening to listen — not to change someone’s mind or ridicule them — is difficult. The more divided we get, the more impossible those conversations feel. So let’s start communicating now.
Contact Channa Steinmetz via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter: @ChannaSteinmetz