Confirming Your Biases: How the Current Political Landscape is Dangerous

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COC Infrastructure

A diagram explaining the basis of confirmation bias in relation to facts and beliefs.

Sophia Prichard, Editor

Over the course of the last decade, we’ve seen consistent simplification of complex political agendas and talking points. It exacerbated actual movements and policies, made it difficult to have meaningful conversations about political topics without compacting our thoughts, making it increasingly arduous to discuss politics in person. After a year and a half of solitude, with many people confined to their echo-chambers and memes, discussions have been stifled by our inability to fathom someone who disagrees with our ideas and feelings.

Part of Trump’s appeal was his ability to persuade a crowd, to gather a group of people and then get them to agree that he should be president. He had what is colloquially known as “meme-ability”. He could create sound bites, things the press could manipulate, or they could stand alone as quotes, granted they usually weren’t the most articulate or eloquent, but they were interesting, they were quick, and made great memes. The problem with this was on both sides of the American political spectrum, these talking points overpowered policies, ideologies, and tangible qualifications for the position of president.

This Catch-22 of the compacted political agenda does not only apply to Trump, Biden has his share of supposedly humorous sound bites, see “Shut up man” from the presidential debate, but it’s a fighting-fire-with-fire situation. The way to strengthen an argument against simplified politics is not to also create a meme, it is to maturely defend your opinions, but this resort to confirming your audience’s biases, when discussing policies that will affect the entire world, doesn’t bode well. 

An audience always has a bias, because humans are unable to destroy their prejudices entirely. For example, there’s a considerable number of FOX News viewers that don’t believe in getting the COVID Vaccine, because FOX tends to confirm their biases against it, mostly because of the programs they run in support of Anti-Vaccine propaganda. But when we analyze FOX’s own office requirements they require masks and for some positions, they require vaccines. These actions come off as two faced, and conservative media aren’t the only ones to participate, Nancy Pelosi supports policies in public but keeps the House from voting on bills that could benefit the greater good, even her own audience. She confirms what her audience believes, not because she wants to stand up for her constituents, but because she wants to be re-elected.