Motivated Reasoning

“The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.”— H. L. Mencken

President Trump’s attacks on media and “fake news” is somewhat justified. There is a grain of truthiness in it, but he seems to be unaware that his criticism applies equally, or more so, to conservative media like Fox News and Breitbart.

Media coverage on both sides of the political spectrum employs hyperbole and invites bias. It is somewhat fruitless to blame the media, because the problem is within ourselves. We always look for any rationale or justification that tends to bolster our preconceived opinions, and we readily dismiss everything else. Scholars have labelled this “motivated reasoning”, but it really doesn’t rise to the level of reasoning at all.

Are we witnessing a rebirth of Yellow Journalism? Certainly hyperbole should be reserved for literature and removed from journalism.

More importantly, we need to come out from behind our preconceptions.