Opinion: Americans Should Get News from Different Sources
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To listeners of Mark Levin’s evening radio show, it seemed that there had just been a “big scandal.” According to the show’s host, President Donald Trump was the victim of spying and wiretapping by the Obama administration, all in an attempt to undermine his campaign. Within hours, Breitbart News picked up the story, which eventually found its way to President Trump’s desk and, ultimately, his Twitter feed, where he openly accused the former president of this scheming.
There was only one problem.
There was no evidence to support Levin’s claim.
President Trump’s willingness to accept these accusations is indicative of a greater problem that seems to be hitting Democrats, Republicans and independents alike: a reliance on only a select few sources for news. A 2016 Pew Research Poll found that 76 percent of U.S. adults usually rely on the same sources for news. While there’s nothing wrong with preferring one news organization over another, getting all news from one or two sites while ignoring any other possible viewpoints can be dangerous.
This isn’t to say that most news organizations are inaccurate or blatantly biased one way or the other. They’re not. Instead, it’s important for Americans on both sides of the aisle to explore different opinions, to read widely and to think critically about the information they ingest.
Instead of flocking straight to Twitter for news, where everything is curated algorithmically to fit your preferences, try getting a subscription to the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Rather than waiting to get BuzzFeed notifications, try out the Reuters or BBC News apps. Unless we stop to double-check information and explore multiple sides of a story, our political climate is only going to get more and more divided and close-minded. If we want to truly understand each other, we have to sometimes go beyond our comfort zone and see what others have to say.
Only when we stop to think about where our news comes from and look at what other sources have to say can we really be informed. Until we do that, we’ll be stuck in the darkness, lit only by the ephemeral glow of Tweets and Facebook notifications.