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KATIE ZERR: Red, blue, black and white create a dangerous palate

Are we nearing the point of no return in the division of our country?
At this tumultuous time in our country, red and blue are very important to this nation. Those colors divide the country into two distinct ideologies: conservative and liberal.
But the problem with this red and blue divide is not in the state’s color on the electoral map, but in the willingness of conservatives and liberals to see only black and white.
The danger in this pattern of only wanting to hear one side of an issue is that it creates an environment of distrust and personal weakness that allows an individual or group with wealth and power to gain control.
It is said the most dangerous thing to the establishment is a person who thinks.
When a society decides there are only two manners in which to think and they allow a certain elements to tell them how to think, an under-informed and ill-informed citizenry is created. The danger in that is the manner in which so-called information is presented. It allows for political and social agendas to be pushed through social media and biased news networks.
The advent of 24-hour news has created a market for biased networks. Recent studies show that conservatives get their information from Fox News and groups that use social media as their platform. Liberals prefer MSNBC, NPR and liberal social media sights.
With nearly 60 percent of our country’s population getting their information on social media, the danger in only reading those sites that push certain agendas is the killing of the exchange of ideas.
Studies have shown that this bias can also erode people’s ability to utilize their critical thinking skills. If a person allows a political group or social networking tell them how they should think or feel, there-in lies the danger.
That is why we should be paying attention to what is happening on Facebook and other social media platforms. That is why it is important to admit that hackers in Russia were able to influence the 2016 election.
When a certain segment of our society is willing to believe that one presidential candidate was running a child prostitute ring out of the basement of pizzeria that didn’t even have a basement, yet will not believe the FBI, DOJ, CIA and multitudes of other federal law enforcement agencies about the Russian interference in the election, we as a nation have a problem.
The narrowing and specialization of social media and 24-hour news can create a dangerous vision of our nation.
With the constant mantra of fake news flowing from the White House and certain conservative organizations, there has been a birth of distrust in the information sources.
Conservative news outlets and social media groups are leading the charge against Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who not only served several presidents and our nation in different capacities but also has a stellar military record and earned two awards for valor, while serving with the Marines in Viet Nam. They are disparaging a man who has dedicated his adult life to serving for the good of this country in order to protect a man who five times dodged the draft and has been proven to have lied to the people of this country over and over again.
Recently vocal Obama critic retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, did not renew his contract with Fox News, on which he was a contributor. Peters said he could no longer be a part of the network’s “fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers.”
Peters said in a statement that the network has become a Trump administration “propaganda machine” that falsely disparages the FBI and intelligence community.
Peters said the network has devolved into “a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration.”
Does this sound fair and balanced?
This door swings both ways. If a person were to only get their news from the liberal information sources, their beliefs would border on a certain paranoia that Nazis are knocking on the White House door. If we were spooned fed the constant liberal pabulum of some news sources, we would believe concentration camps are the next step of this administration.
This is why we residents of a government by the people, both a democracy and a republic, must be an informed citizenry.
That means turning off Fox News or MSNBC and listening to or reading less biased news sources.
We need to take responsibility for our ideologies and not let so-called “experts” in one field or the next tell us how to think.
That gives our power away and creates a very dangerous political environment. When we rely an information system where opinions are broadcast as facts and sources can pick and chose what they broadcast as facts, we erode the real fairness and balance in our nation.
– Katie Zerr –