Operating in this kind of belief-confirming vacuum leads people to some pretty narrow views - so narrow and myopic that they can't help but confirm those views with everything they see. This, of course, is a fancy way of describing 'confirmation bias', and in today's social media, we see it everywhere: our friends post things we agree with, and Facebook is filled with 'likes', not dislikes, mind you - LIKES.
Take this case, a story 2 days ago about a video(did I just write the phrase 'a story about a video'? Yeah, it's 2012...) starring 6 year old boy, who proudly recites 10 reasons not to vote for Obama.
Front Porch Politics(yeehaw!) titled the story Liberals Call for Killing of 6 year old Conservative! Well. That sounds incendiary, doesn't it? Call for Killing?! Wow, I'm surprised at that. Unfortunately, after reading through a couple hundred comments on YouTube I can't find a single death threat, though I did find one 'I would give my kid a whippin if he said that,' and numerous variations on 'getting your children to parrot your beliefs is tantamount to child abuse' comments. By the way, if you found an actual death threat from a liberal, drop me a note and point it out. At the least, this title horribly misleading. Oh, and the let's-charitably-call-them-an-author doesn't even claim that a 'Call for Killing' was made in the article! Yeah, the title of the story is "Liberals Call for Killing of a 6 year old Conservative", but there is no actual calling for the killing of a 6 year old.
And to that I say "Huh."
What follows after the let's-keep-charitably-calling-it-a-story is far more interesting - the comments section. Oh comments section, how I love thee. How you grandly march naked emperors before us like an endless march of lemmings towards the cliffs of Crazytown. One can only help they have such cliffs in Crazytown.
Okay, so the comments section. A story about liberals calling for the killing of a 6-year old boy(which didn't happen) results in... guess what? Conservative hatred. Obama = Islammunist. Muslim-Loving traitor. Chimp-in-Chief(and ha ha, that's an insult to a very smart animal). The antichrist. Marxist. Socialist. Fascist(those last two, same post, lulz). Don't capitalize ovomit, you give honor to his name that way. usurper-in-chief and a disgusting excuse for a man. Oh, and my favorite comment: "Cudos" to the 6 year old for the video. golf clap. Wiping tear from eye. "Cudos." Well, at least we know who we're dealing with.
Oh, and that was the first page of comments.
So why can't we talk about politics and religion?
Perhaps it is because people don't listen. None of the comments on the first page mentioned that the title of the story was a lie. None of the comments mentioned that the video's reasons were pretty thin arguments in themselves, which were fairly far-fetched. Or the fact that someone spoon-fed their kid political arguments(true or not) and used them to make a political point. Of course liberals hate that crap. In fact, few of the comments dealt with liberals, the story, the comments liberals made, or the idea of liberals wanting to kill a 6-year old(again, didn't happen) at all' they simply went ballistic on the root of the liberal problem(as they saw it) - the President.
They didn't research it. They didn't look at the source of the information, or even at the information itself. They took the opportunity to use the information as presented, without question, as confirmation of their own belief that President Obama was <insert hatred here>. There is a word for using confirmation bias as the sole source of your information.
Ignorance. Kissing cousin to stupidity, and I mean that in the most backwoodsy sense. When information doesn't matter, stupidity is the only by-product.
It is somewhat appropriate that my favorite reply on the YouTube video of the 6-year old's rant was this:
"Meanwhile, in UH-MERICKA."