Call us obstinate if you must, but the Intramuralist will always advocate for what is wiser. We will not/cannot accept leaks, tweets, and agenda-driven news as providing an accurate, complete perspective; they do not. When we witness scenarios such as last weekend’s apology by Northwestern University’s student paper for actually covering an event because their reporting made some upset and/or feel unsafe, we can see how so much news isn’t really news. The media is part of the problem.
Hence, as we examine the evolution of the media’s behavior, which too often only fuels the rage and lack of objectivity, I was encouraged by the recent report of John Gable, the CEO and founder of AllSides.com (note: all emphasis mine):
“Despite the overwhelming division and non-stop crisis apparent in the media — from impeachment to Syria to threats to our democratic institutions — it’s not all doom and gloom. We’ve got some good news — news so core to our mission that we decided to share with all of our friends supporting AllSides.
People are demanding something better than partisan media slant, hyped outrage and hateful discourse that divides us. We are seeing shifts in the American public overall and a surge of interest in AllSides that we think bode well for the health of our nation. Here are some quick highlights:
Surging demand for balanced news…
Traffic to AllSides.com grew 42% last month alone, and 39% the month before that. During these same two months, traffic to traditional online media outlets dropped slightly.
Pew Research shows growth in demand for balanced news. According to Pew, 78% of Americans prefer news from a source that doesn’t have a particular partisan slant. This is a dramatic increase from a 2012 survey that found 64% prefer news without a particular point of view.
Members of multi-partisan focus groups ‘literally jumped out of their seats’ with excitement after seeing news presented in the way AllSides has spearheaded, showing multiple perspectives and the outlet’s bias.
Desire — and opportunity — for civility and respectful discourse…
93% of Americans see incivility as a problem; 68% think it is at a crisis level.
Mismatch by AllSides provides a refreshing alternative. Purpose-built to foster human connection and respectful dialogue, Mismatch is our online conversation platform that was successfully tested with over 300 students from 14 U.S. states this Spring.
AllSides and our partners will bring civil dialogue to the entire nation. A joint project with partners like Living Room Conversations, National Conversation Project and the National Institute for Civil Discourse will provide a desperately needed alternative to the nasty discourse we are sure to see in 2020.
Growth in media literacy and civic education…
Our new guide, 11 Types of Media Bias, was hot, driving our single biggest day of traffic all year. We received an onslaught of positive feedback not just from teachers and students, but from adults of all ages.
Our schools program continues to grow dramatically — we now service about 20,000 students and teachers every week in all 50 states. Civic and media literacy education is taking off across the nation. Our new schools website, programs and partnerships (with Close Up Foundation, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute, and others) provide news literacy, conversation skills and critical thinking for the next generation.
Schools in 28 states have already signed up for Mismatch this semester. Last June, we conducted a Mismatch beta test with over 300 students in 14 states; 92% said they would sign up for Mismatch again, and 83% felt it helped them to appreciate different perspectives after just one conversation.”
Oh, how I love this… oh, how it’s different from current conversation. Allow me to go back to AllSides…
“From the earliest days at AllSides, we struggled with how to describe ourselves. Are we a technology company, media service, or a movement? The truth is, we are all of these things. AllSides is dedicated to strengthening our democracy by freeing people from filter bubbles so they can better understand the world — and each other. We are creating a stronger democratic society and democratic republic.”
Freeing people from filter bubbles… what a fantastic ambition! Are you free?! Ready to help “foster human connection and respectful dialogue”?
Says AllSides once more…
“We are all in this together.”
Oh, indeed we are… may we continue to advocate for what is wiser.