It has become abundantly clear that the left and the right see the world quite differently. It may be because we are all deluding ourselves with the help of algorithms that tell us what we want to hear.
But it is also becoming clear that these algorithms are being harnessed by those who shape perception: advertisers and propagandists.
“Media Literacy” is a term describing a skill set we all need if we want to avoid being pawns in the struggle to capture our attention and motivate us to action. Susan Mehrtens and I wrote about knowing what’s authentic in our book Credible? But critical thinking skill is not enough. We also need to be schooled in how the flood of information that gains our attention is shaped and tinted so that we maintain our perspective.
The same social mechanisms that bind people into cults allow political bubbles to form and be perpetuated. We are seeing this emerge and play out in what’s happening among the political followers of Donald Trump. To what extent are those aligned with Biden, AOC, and various liberal social movements also living in cultish systems of belief? How do we keep it real?