I'm sure confirmation bias always existed to some degree. Even cave men and women probably liked having their beliefs reinforced by others.
There has never been a time in the history of this planet when people had more control of the information available to them. You can see broadcasts, streaming video, online news and social media that agrees with you and literally ignore any dissenting worldview. With all of the knowledge in the history of the world at our fingertips, we have chosen to become highly-informed ignorant people. Many people can recite one side's talking points yet they have no concept of what the rest of the story may be.
One great example of the this confirmation bias is believing in an old idiom that falsely tells people that the enemy of your enemy is your friend. That is not true. You can have more than one enemy.
Watching people, politicians and pundits in the past few weeks has been interesting.
Ricky Gervais ripped into actors and other movie industry professionals in his Golden Globes monologue. He blasted them for being hypocritical and bashed Amazon, Apple and Disney for their corporate actions and even accused Apple of making products in sweatshops.
"Apple roared into the TV game with The Morning Show, a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing, made by a company that runs sweatshops in China. Well, you say you're woke but the companies you work for in China — unbelievable. Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service you'd call your agent, wouldn't you?" Gervais said to nervous laughter. "So if you do win an award tonight, don't use it as a platform to make a political speech. You're in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg."
Of course, these are the same conservatives who have leaders working for Saudi Arabia in South Dakota, brag about taking a billion dollars from the royal family to buy the services of our armed forces like mercenaries and excuse the Saudi royal family for the part they played in the murder of an American-based journalist. The people with these deep ties to the country that literally gave us Osama Bin Laden and the vast majority of the 9-11 hijackers is pushing around a Ricky Gervais monologue because he called out Apple and Disney? I guess with hypocrisy, it takes one to know one.
Trust me, the last thing a conservative person has in Ricky Gervais is an ally. The hyper-liberal atheist may have said some words they liked, but he is no conservative truth teller. He is a provocateur who got exactly what he wanted for that monologue — publicity for his personal projects. He knew what to say to get buzz and he said it. One might say that Gervais was another one of the hypocrites knowing the other ones.
Don't think for a second that conservatives are the only partisans barking up the wrong tree looking for allies.
Liberals have never felt more vindicated than when Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida voted with Nancy Pelosi on the War Powers Act. Mike Lee and Rand Paul — both Republican Senators — expressed dismay with the briefing about the recent military engagement in Iran. Sen. Lee from Utah even signed on with Bernie Sanders to push a War Powers Act in the Senate.
I hope the liberal vision for 2020 success isn't based on Rep. Gaetz and the two Senators joining the Resistance. After all, eight Democrats voted against Pelosi on the War Powers Act and there is no chance Mitch McConnell will allow a version of the bill to come to a vote in the Senate if he thinks it has a chance to pass.
Just because someone says one thing you agree with doesn't mean you are friends or even allies. Disagreeing 99 percent of the time is a bad foundation for a friendship.
I guess it makes sense to enjoy it while it lasts, but the frustration and disappointment that will bring hardly seems worth it in the long run.
Kent Bush is the editor of the Rapid City Journal.