I’ve been thinking a lot about responses to my post regarding the gal who is running for town council, the one who donated to Obama, and who nevertheless seems to be a fiscal conservative. I asked how she can live with the cognitive dissonance. Several of you pointed out, in one form or another, that it’s not cognitive dissonance if you don’t know facts sufficient to create that dissonance. In other words, if this gal lives in the traditional liberal world, watching CNN or MSNBC, listening to NPR, and reading the New York Times and The New Yorker, she went into the election cycle with a “unified theory of Obama” that included the belief that Obama had the intelligence, the temperament and even the experience to bring fiscal control to Washington, D.C. In other words, the media was feeding her (falsified) data entirely consistent with her fiscal beliefs. Cognitive dissonance, if she feels any, should be hitting about now, when even the most loving media cannot hide the disconnect between Obama “as sold,” and Obama “as is.”
I had this point — namely, that liberals are incapable of making rational decisions because they’re relying on intentionally faulty data — dramatically illustrated to me this morning when my husband was just kvelling about Thomas Friedman’s column saying that he thinks incivility on the right is building up to the same levels that characterized the time preceding Rabin’s assassination. I countered by saying that Friedman had no credibility because, during the Bush years, he completely ignored all the death threats against and assassination fantasies about Bush, and that even now he is still ignoring the vile insults major political figures are raining down on people opposed to ObamaCare. My husband’s response: I was “nuts,” an “idiot” and “wacko.” Why? Because I was making all of that stuff up. My husband’s mental furniture didn’t include any death threats against Bush, and there were no fantasies about his assassination. And as for the debate now, nobody’s been hurling insults at conservatives.
And you know what? In my husband’s completely insular media universe, everything he says is absolutely true. None of that has happened. He has been completely protected from any words or images showing ugliness emanating from the Left. And now he’s seeing only ugliness emanating from the Right. Therefore, in my husband’s mind, Friedman is absolutely correct to write a column about the horrors of conservative hatred, because it’s the first time political hatred has happened. Now, my husband has a small excuse for this type of ignorance, because he doesn’t work in the media. Further, since he religiously reads the paper and magazines, and listens to the radio, he believes he’s informed. Friedman, who works in the center of New York’s media, has no such excuse.
This why the type of work O’Keefe and Giles did, with Andrew Brietbart’s help, is so incredibly important. They are breaching the heavily fortified walls guarding the media universe, and forcing the gatekeepers to acknowledge the existence of data inconsistent with its prevailing world view. And as more of that data leaks into the liberal kingdom, more and more of the liberals trapped within those walls are going to start figuring out that they’ve been on the receiving end of the big lie.
UPDATE: Dan Rather perfectly illustrates, not just life in the bubble, but the refusal to venture out of the bubble.