Thursday, October 4, 2012

Exactly how bad was last night's debate for Obama?

Reddit is the home to more-educated-than-average teenagers and twentysomethings. As a result, they post a bunch of interesting and funny stuff, but they also tend to be smug and condescending in their overwhelmingly liberal political leanings.

Anyway, over at the front page right now is a  very good question:
As a Canadian, I was quite surprised to see so little discussion of the Presidential Debate making it to the front page this morning. Is this because Romney apparently "won" the debate?
The answer is "Yes, obviously. As a basic fact about human nature, most people don't enjoy talking about miserable things. In addition, liberals have a sizable dose of cognitive dissonance to resolve regarding the question of why the guy they thought was such a magical public speaker and political genius got trounced by a guy they've universally derided as an empty suit. Rather than resolve this dilemma, it's easier to just ignore it."

I clicked on it expecting a lot of 'No, really, it's not like that, we just thought that politics suddenly became really uninteresting!'.

To their credit, the highest rated responses are a lot more self-aware and honest than I gave them credit for.
"I think the fact that I haven't seen anyone on reddit claiming Obama won is pretty telling."
"..... if you think its crickets now ... Ryan and Biden debate LOL"
"Even msnbc admitted Romney won so was pretty bad for obama"
"It reminds me of the 2010 election results, where the Republicans made huge gains in Congress. I thought when I opened reddit I would see a bunch of news stories on the results of the election. This was back when I still thought of reddit as a news site, or at least the news and politics subreddits.
However, it was crickets all around. That's the day I realized you cannot hope to remain current on politics and the news by reading reddit. I expected bias, what I didn't expect was complete self-censorship."
The last point is spot on.

I read it for a different reason - I expect exactly this kind of bias and the self-censorship, but it's useful to read people who disagree with you. I don't want to end up in an echo-chamber where I only hear viewpoints that reinforce what I already think.

If you only read things that support what you already believe, you end up like the guys on Reddit, baffled when reality doesn't conform to the only data you've been receiving.

Update: From Pax Dickinson:
Obama is working on a devastating "jerk store" zinger for the next debate. It's gonna be CRAY
Ha! Comedy gold.

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