Am I living in a filter bubble?
I don’t know. Why do you ask?
Are you genuinely concerned for my informational needs, or is this just a polite opening where we quickly move on, to saying that I don’t agree with you and that therefore I am an idiot?
When someone says ‘people are living in filter bubbles’ it is possible that they have an agenda. They want to begin their lecture now...
In my case, I would have to say the answer is no.
On the Toronto Sun website, I am allowed ten free articles per month. Sometimes I go to the site and find a story that interests me. I can get the same story somewhere else, in fact I usually have already. What interests me is the spin.
What interests me is the reaction.
The spin is one thing, the comments section is often pure swamp for some reason. Now, when I am reading an acknowledged leftward-leaning news source, the spin isn’t quite so apparent.
We must assume it is there, perhaps rendered invisible because for the most part we agree—there’s nothing there so egregious that it begs contradiction. We might quibble on the details, or the dearth or abundance of coverage of any particular issue.
Recently, the big story provincially is the rise in the minimum wage. I can read liberal papers, and see what stories they carry. Then I can go off to the conservative papers, and see what they are saying. And yes, I already have my own opinion. Most of us do—we already have our opinions.
The columnists have their own slant, and they’re carrying the flag to some extent when they write for public consumption, i.e., the sort of folks that subscribe to that particular outlet, and presumably to that particular outlook.
I’m not a card-carrying party member. In the past, and I am fifty-eight years old, I have voted Green Party once. I have voted multiple times for the NDP and the Liberals, federally and provincially. I know who on city council has run in federal or provincial elections and for what party they ran. Once I was sorely tempted to vote Conservative, mostly in protest of an incumbent Liberal that I didn’t much like.
To have a range of opinions, which don’t always coincide with any particular party template, to more or less agree with a position, perhaps to support a side would be a better expression, is not the same thing as living in a filter bubble. Of course I’m looking for facts to support that. That’s because I have an agenda too.
It’s pretty simple, actually.
I would like to know the facts.
When I read a local paper, I am perfectly aware that head office has a conservative or liberal outlook on things. And things are complicated—the real trolls in the comment section seem to have a simple, ideological answer for everything, and anyone who doesn’t agree is living in a filter bubble.
Because we’re not too fond of listening to them. That’s why it quickly gets so personal when someone disagrees or tries to introduce some facts which have been left out. They have the pulpit and they don’t want to let it go.
They have their beliefs.
They don’t need to convince themselves or their fellow-travelers. They need to convince that silent, middle of the road majority, who, if they are listening at all, must be rather appalled by all of this. All of these opposing claims—contradictory claims.
Looking at my search history, I can see that I read dozens of stories and publications daily.
For the most part, these are credible sources of a liberal social, economic and political nature.
They are the more forward-looking and thoughtful publications out there, and yes, that does include the local (arguably, socially, a little bit conservative) paper a lot of the time. Every once in a while, we run into a real dog and we wonder why anyone would even bother…anyways, that is my bias.
It’s a lot better than what the amateurs are saying when they get all riled up on ideological grounds and then turn everything into character or moral judgements, using the most simplistic and bigoted reasoning known to man.
Maybe that’s because things are complicated.
And amateurs are amateurs.
Louis Shalako books and stories are available from Amazon.
Thank you for reading.