I am SICK TO DEATH of the comment I hear and see everywhere, that Hillary Clinton is “just as bad” as Trump.
I am SICK TO DEATH of the conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton is a “liar” or “untrustworthy.”
You want to know where it comes from? Inability to think for oneself. Disinterest in actually spending time researching, reading history, or listening to opposing views.
It’s LAZY THINKING.
Consider a few facts:
- In case you haven’t heard, people who watch Fox “News” are significantly less well-informed than people who watch no news at all. Fox is heavily implicated in creating the “lying Hillary” narrative.
- Ken Burns recently compared the GOP’s support of Trump to Vichy France during Nazi occupation. Meaning “roll over and play dead, and actively enable evil to rule.” Nothing exemplified this concept more strongly than last week’s Republican convention, in which frenzied party supporters could come up with no better platform than “Lock her up.” Oh, and where a Trump adviser announced that Clinton should be executed by firing squad. The mindless crowd and those playing along at home ate it up. No thinking required.
- A few days ago, Paul Krugman* wrote a column about false equivalence in media coverage of politics. His point, and it’s an issue I’ve noticed for a long time, is that in a misguided attempt to be unbiased, journalist way too often seek out and highlight minor negatives about one candidate to place alongside egregious negatives about the other side. An example, from that column:
“And in the last few days we’ve seen a spectacular demonstration of bothsidesism in action: an op-ed article from the incoming and outgoing heads of the White House Correspondents’ Association, with the headline “Trump, Clinton both threaten free press.” How so? Well, Mr. Trump has selectively banned news organizations he considers hostile; he has also, although the op-ed didn’t mention it, attacked both those organizations and individual reporters, and refused to condemn supporters who, for example, have harassed reporters with anti-Semitic insults.
Meanwhile, while Mrs. Clinton hasn’t done any of these things, and has astaff that readily responds to fact-checking questions, she doesn’t like to hold press conferences. Equivalence!
It takes a lot of effort to think for yourself when digesting that kind of coverage.
It takes a lot of effort to think for yourself rather than “rolling over and playing dead.”
It takes a lot of effort to use higher level thinking skills, to research, to make your own decisions.
I admit I prefer not to watch Fox, to look out for Breitbart articles, or to read columns by the far-right smart ass Jonah Goldberg. My blood pressure doesn’t need that kind of stress. But I know it’s important to pay attention to all sides and make up my own mind.
Critical thinking is worth the effort.
*Paul Krugman is a celebrated economist, having received a Nobel Memorial Prize in economics and having been a professor of economics both at MIT and Princeton. He is an op-ed columnist for the NY Times.