Media Creates Caricatures of Political Parties. And People Believe Them!
Political parties help us construct straw men of our opponents. They help us see our fellow Americans as opponents in the first place. They have us joining teams not because we like what they stand for, but because we hate what the other team stands for.
Or at least, we hate what we think the other team stands for. A poll asked Democrats and Republicans to estimate statistics about the other party. The answers we pure caricatures.
For example, Republicans thought that 38% of Democrats were gay. That’s about twice as many gay people as actually exist in the USA by most estimates. Actually, only about 6% of Democrats are gay.
Democrats thought 44% of Republicans made more than $250,000 per year, those rich bastards! Turns out, only 2% of Republicans earn that much.
Democrats’ estimates for the percentage of 65 or older Republicans was double the actual 21% of the GOP. And Republicans assumed there were four times as many atheists and agnostics in the Democratic Party than the actual 9%.
This is especially troublesome because other data suggests that people actually change their views to fall in line with the party. If there was no party as a simple one-stop shop for your ideology, people would have to actually make informed decisions about each government policy. Or they would have to admit that they don’t know or don’t care–which is better than supporting something out of ignorance.
The study cited the media as driving these stereotypes. In fact, the more someone follows politics, the larger their misconceptions about the other party! This proves the media doesn’t inform, it misinforms. It creates stereotypes that drive a wedge between Americans. And then people conform to the mass media produced image of what they should believe.
Of course, another way to interpret the findings is that in general… people are pretty dumb.
This is why it is so important to be an individual that actually thinks critically, not a party pawn.
You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.
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