Media Narratives Are Groupthink Not Reality

Seventeen years after his presidential run I still enjoy listening to Howard Dean.  He always has something unique and valuable to add to the dialogue.  It’s never the same old tired drivel of the professional pundit class.

Howard Dean doesn’t get on TV a lot anymore and when he does he refuses to go along with the cable news Narrative.  He bluntly tells the truth just as he always has.  So while everyone else is making it seem like the entire country has gone off the deep end, Dean reminds us that the right wing is actually in the minority.

I saw a segment with Dean and former RNC chair Michael Steele and thought, how great if the former DNC and RNC chairs had their own show. They were quite the dynamic duo together. I remember when I would turn off the sound when Steele was on back when he was RNC chair. But he has been an excellent outspoken yet pragmatic commentator ever since he escaped the Republican party.  The ones who got away seem to despise Republicans even more than regular people do.

Media narratives shape our perception of how things are. They aren’t necessarily true and are frequently false. Pulitzer prize winning columnist for The Washington Post Eugene Robinson, a member of the media, wrote honestly about the phenomenon that he calls The Narrative:

Like wildebeests crossing the Serengeti, journalists travel in a herd. We follow not the life-giving seasonal rains but a safe, comfortable, groupthink story arc — call it The Narrative — whose current chapter is titled “Democrats are doomed.” – Eugene Robinson

Howard Dean said the following on The Beat with Ari Berman recently. How would things be different if this was the chosen media narrative that we all heard on TV and in social media over and over 24-7?

“People are fed up with this. They’re fed up with this in all parts of the country. Normal ordinary good Americans no matter whether they’re Republicans or Democrats they’re sick of it and they blame the far right and Trump and Cruz and Desantis and Abbot and all these wing-nuts who know better for the most part and are consistently catering to the worst instincts of human beings. It’s wrecking the country and we’re not going to put up with it anymore.”

It’s not hard to imagine how a different Narrative could start a movement.

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