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2018-01-10 / Editorial

Social media … little has changed, at least not for the good

About politics and other things
By Elaine Kolodziej

(This is a rehash of my column from Feb. 1, 2017)

Social media have been invaded with hateful comments about President Donald Trump, but as my friend Fred Owens points out, Facebook is not a place for deep thinking.

If anything, Facebook is a place for “fake emotions” and, thus, fake news. There are countless threads that continue with one false narrative after another. Facts become irrelevant, as emotions flame out of control.

All this does nothing to promote productive discussions and critical thinking. Making decisions based entirely on feelings, unfortunately, is not limited to social media.

A message sent out by the DNC (Democratic National Committee) included claims by the Washington Examiner, Washington Post, CNN, and other sources talking about Trump’s executive order on immigration and “Muslim ban.” It’s no comfort that several Republicans are also quoting the same misinformation. This is not a Muslim ban.

But to ask anyone to actually read the order is beyond the pale. It’s like Nancy Pelosi infamously said: To see what’s in it (referring to the Affordable Care Act), you have to pass the bill!

No longer do people, including many journalists, feel compelled to read. Just take the emotion-filled comments from Facebook and run with them, especially if they agree with your preconceived notions of what you expect to see. So “snowflakes” everywhere saw tears running down the Statue of Liberty over the immigration policy — a policy they had never read.

As David French wrote for nationalreview.com, Trump’s order includes only “… moderate refugee restrictions and temporary provisions aimed directly at limiting immigration from jihadist conflict zones.”

Check it out: geo.tv/latest/ 129055.

This was not a “war against religion” as the DNC claimed in another message: “Jihadist groups on Sunday celebrated the ban [saying] this proves that the U.S. is at war with Islam.”

The order, in fact, banned all refugees from those countries only until they could come up with legitimate ways of vetting them. It never was a Muslim ban.

Could this social media phenomenon of making decisions based on emotions be one of the reasons for a lack of tolerance in politics? As a conservative, I’m used to being called stupid, racist, xenophobic, hateful, or all of the above.

But here is a new wrinkle. After I announced the addition of a single liberal column to our op-ed pages, you would have thought I’d committed a sacrilege against conservative philosophy.

I was soundly taken to the proverbial woodshed over adding Froma Harrop’s column. And, to answer Fred Gonzales’ question in today’s letter, I never received any feedback on her column other than the negative: “… I don’t really care to read anything liberal. I can read enough liberal articles on the Internet. In fact you can’t get away from it! … Let’s be refreshing and stay with conservative values.”

So, to answer Fred, after months of receiving no positive feedback, we did drop Harrop as our token liberal. Perhaps we did not choose the “right” liberal voice, or perhaps it is as readers have said, they can get all the liberal views in every other newspaper, and on television and social media.

Readers did not want to see it here, so at least for now, the Wilson County News will keep its conservative voice while welcoming any response from the “other side.”

Although Fred disagrees with our conservative views, he does so respectfully and we appreciate that. Unfortunately, few from the other side show such respect, or even reason. They have the “it’s-my-way-or-the highway” kind of thinking.

We will continue with our conservative view, but realize that it takes all kinds to make the world go ’round. And we would like to see all kinds stay engaged. Politics in 2018, both locally and nationally, will most definitely be “engaging.”

Stay tuned.

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