It can seem like commonplace to only listen to people you agree with. The Pew Research Center had a 2016 study that showed 83% of users ignore content they find controversial. When ignoring that content doesn’t work, 31% of users reshape their feeds to see less of that content and 27% may unfriend or block the content’s source.
Since the beginning of the school year, I have paid close attention to the reactions of the published opinion pieces. Not surprisingly, there was much more scrutiny toward articles that had a right-wing point of view. However, I was surprised by some of the comments toward the articles.
Some comments lambasted the author for being a “climate denier” and that The News Record shouldn’t even publish articles that are “anti-science.” Amazing how only the opinions we agree with are the right opinions. For instance, there weren’t any comments that were expressed as “You’re wrong, here’s why”, it was “You’re wrong, how dare you.”
To start, when you have an opinion, you can share whatever view you have. That’s called free speech. Just as it’s your right to criticize the article, it’s the author’s right to express their belief.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers,” said the United Nation Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
You can always write a Letter to the Editor or write an opinion piece. Feel free to write an opinion on whatever you want; I would love to have more diverse views. Commenting on the opinion’s ideological bent or the background of the writer isn’t a convincing argument. A rebuttal with facts is.
Listening to the perspective of others can actually be helpful. Not everyone who disagrees with you is out to harm you. For me listening to late night host John Oliver changed my view of the death penalty. Listening to someone like comedian Jimmy Dore and YouTuber Kyle Kulinski (Secular Talk) was a good experience, as hearing the points about single payer health care and environmental causes gave me a fresh perspective, even if I don’t agree with them.
“If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all,” Noam Chomsky once said.