Crossing the Bridge of Confirmation Bias

I have to admit…most days I find the amount of information that is coming my way SO overwhelming.   Oh, don’t worry. Nothing to be ashamed of there, Dani. The sheer volume of media and information that is pushing itself on us, competing for our attention, is overwhelming. The more we engage and make strides to keep ourselves and our opinions informed, the more overwhelming it is.

via GIPHY

Our blog prompt for this week in EC&I 832 is a welcome change of pace. We’re been asked to slow down a little, train our focus on our own selves, and consider how we interact with media in a day of our lives.

So, what does an average day look like for me? Honestly, it isn’t very hard to track my routine, as far as engaging with media. It can be divided into 2 parts: before school and after school.

BEFORE SCHOOL

News

Well, like many of my EC&! 832 peers who have posted ahead of me, my wake up routine typically includes consumption of some food and some news media.In the morning, I rely on television media as a backdrop to my breakfast. CBC’s Morning Edition is a staple.

Comms

Once done with my breakfast, I make a requisite check of my work email and check for texts. This is a mandatory part to starting my day successfully, or I’m behind the eight ball before I even get there. Between communications with school admin, and the team of teachers I support, it’s quite rare that there isn’t something that requires time and attention upon arrival at school.

AFTER SCHOOL

 News

My after-school life begins with my drive home, which is short, lasting no longer than 15 minutes. I usually indulge myself with listening to Sportsnet’s hockey podcast. A small treat that always has me feeling a bit more relaxed by the time I get home, no matter what kind of day I’ve had.

In a wrap around to how I started my day, I start to wind down my day much the same way I began. Once home from school, and tutoring or whatever personal errands I have run, I put on a news backdrop as I prepare for dinner. Christy Climenhaga is a regular, along with Lee Jones and Heather Anderson.

After dinner, a normal day will have me spending some time shifting from TV media to digital news media. Finally having some time on my hands, I am better able to focus on manipulating and reading texts. As with TV media though, for better or worse, I do have a roster of sources that I have come to trust and rely upon: Huffington Post, The Walrus, BBC, Regina Leader-Post (to a lesser extent)., the Athletic (for sports), and more.

—Sponsored Content—

It is here where I need to talk about my first real entanglements with fake news. Even while browsing what I consider to be trusted sources, like CNN, there is the potential to be exposed to “paid partner content”. Sponsored content is a very real thing, and honestly isn’t even new. In his article, John Pelle discusses the impetus behind sponsored content and puts it in his historical context. Sponsored “advertorials” at the turn of the 20th century… sponsored radio content … TV infomercials … money has always been a major driver behind the content we see, and it’s important we take that into account when we are browsing news outlets we consider to be trusted. They are as susceptible to financial pressures as anybody else.

Comms

This is the time of day where I usually take some time to exchange texts with some family and a few friends. Since moving to Saskatchewan, and leaving most of my family behind in Ontario, this has become a cherished part of the day. I especially enjoy exchanged with my father, who also makes efforts to be aware of comings and going politically. We both have preconceptions that tend to have us viewing things from slightly different vantage points.

WEEKEND

There is an element of my routine that sparked from my move to Saskatchewan. Over my first summer here, my wife and I did a fair bit of driving to explore the very different, and uniquely beautiful landscapes of southern Saskatchewan. It was during these drives that I discovered John Gormley. For a time, I was flabbergasted that a show like his could be carried on what I see as mainstream media in Saskatchewan. I think it’s fair to say that his views fall predictably to one side of our political spectrum.

Over time, I have actually begun to enjoy listening to his show. I do this partly for entertainment, I do find myself sometimes laughing with what I hear from callers to his show. But if this was the only reason I did this, I would’ve stopped by now.

—Confirmation Bias—

I have unexpectedly found value in making the effort (and believe me, it takes an effort for me) to tune into his show from time to time. It exposes me to what people on the other side of the political divide are saying and perceiving things. I have found it a worthwhile exercise for myself to listen to how individuals are interpreting the same events so very differently from me.

Yes, I often find the chasm uncross-able. To the point of frustration , actually. The things I hear, especially on issues that touch me emotionally, can induce extreme frustration. But, on the whole, this has turned into a deliberate strategy to keep myself informed on the most heated political and social issues of of the day. There is more than enough media out there for me to  cherry pick what I want to read and confirm all my own biases and preconceptions without breaking a sweat.

At the very least, I need to take strides to see what other people are saying, and the John Gormley show is as good a place as any for me!

 

 

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