As we are getting close to finishing election season, I am noticing a very specific common experience. The media is the number one victim of this. They are “following the narrative”. By this I mean that they have a hypothesis about the world and will do anything to support that idea. Any new information that is the opposite of their expected outcome is ignored and conversely, any information that supports the narrative is pointed to as a smoking gun.
This is an awful way to go about the world. If I had a nickel for every time the “truth” was the exact opposite of people’s predispositions, I would be a wealthy man. Some people think TARP was 700 billion dollars and a terrible idea. Turns out that most of it was paid back and it’s only 50 billion, plus it probably saved millions of jobs. To take a more mundane topic, you may like a member of the opposite sex; but think they aren’t interested in you. Every smile and frown will be viewed through the lens of your existing mental model.
Politicians play this narrative to the hilt (or get played by it). If you control the narrative, then people will go along. Once a politician is labeled “weak” then everything they do sounds weak. Label them “corrupt” and everything they do has a bad smell about it.
If only our brains worked differently. If only we could be more sensible and make decisions based on logic and facts. If only…