Political Smackdown: What's Said vs. What's Heard

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Lalala! I can't hear you...

Lalala! I can't hear you... Source: striatic hide caption

itoggle caption Source: striatic

Governor Palin did not ban books from the public library as mayor of Wasilla, and Senator Obama was not sworn into the Senate with his hand placed on the Koran. And yet, such misinformation persists, and plenty of voters believe one myth or the other, but not both. Why? The answer's simple, and once again Psych 101 rears its (ugly?) head: confirmation bias. Today, we'll talk to Bill Bishop, author of The Big Sort, about how, in politics, voters seek to confirm their beliefs by hearing what they want to hear, and ignoring what they don't.

Yes or no: Have you ever gone out of your way not to hear facts that might upset your existing political beliefs? All the liberals, say, "Haaay!" Did you skip George Bush's State of the Union? All the conservatives, say, "Haaay!" Did you skip Bill Clinton's State of the Union? Come on, be honest.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.