Media establishment's search for the mythical "moderate" endangers freedom
What if, rather than journalists interpreting "neutrality" to mean seeking a "moderate/centrist" middle ground between polarized major parties, it were framed to mean identifying consensus issues that most voters agree on regardless of party, and then covering whether individual candidates or parties support or reject those consensus views?
What consensus? For starters, the University of Maryland School of Public Policy's Program for Public Consultation identified nearly 150 such popular consensus policy positions in a survey of 80,000 Americans across the partisan spectrum:
I will never forget reading an article in the Register where they interviewed a well known and respected climate scientist originally from Iowa, James Hansen. Since they couldn't bring themselves to stick with respected science, they interviewed also two guys from Hull, Iowa who disagreed with him. After that, I volunteered to be on their reader panel since I'm a scientist. Instead, they picked someone from Pella who worked at Vermeer and didn't believe in evolution. Then I realized they were actively courting ignorance.
The late Peter Camejo used to put it quantitatively on discussing why "the middle" favors extremists. He would point out that extreme capitalists would want to cut down ALL the old growth redwoods. If, as a conservationist, you compromise and let them cut 50% then the next compromise gets them another 50% then another. After "only" 3 compromises, you are down to 12.5% of the original forest.
I think part of our job might be defining both sides of the Overton window.
I noticed this most clearly with BLM movement: on the left there was
#DefundThePolice <––> "Don't Think of" #DefundThePolice
So of course, it became #DefundThePolice vs Trump, #DefundThePolice vs #LawAndOrder
Imagine if people opposed to police racism and power abused had created both sides of that framing. If CNN could have someone who wanted to Defund in a polite conversation with someone who wanted to end police racist violence the way Richmond, California did, and that that had a frame (I don't know what to call it — which is terrible framing!)
With the election fraud,
1. We desperately need to have two approaches to fixing the problems, and generate interesting, attention-grabbing conversations between those two solutions.
2. We need to reframe what moderates do: right now, moderates are framed as being between left and right. Lots and lots and lots of people desire to be calm and centered in the shitstorm of politics, so as the right goes farther right, they stay in the middle. Could we reframe centrists, what it means to be a centrist, what you have to do to be a centrist? Could we talk to them? Something like:
This is eye-opening. Thanks so much for sharing.
I so agree! The left-right continuum is a one-dimensional view of a 4 dimensional world (3D that varies over time). Insisting on that view limits every discussion to left, right, and some mashup of left-right seen as lying somewhere in between. We miss creative ideas that could appeal to VALUES that anyone might hold, as opposed to specific, static, mutually exclusive “left” or “right” policy positions.