CERRU OP-ED: Burst your Media Bubble

5 mins read

Besides the copy of The Knight News you’re holding in your hands right now, where do you get your news?

How you answer this question matters a lot, as all of us learned the day we met Annafi Wahed. On February 26 during free hour, the founder of “The Flipside,” came to speak at “Burst Your Media Bubble,” an event hosted by the QC Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding.  

“The Flipside” is a daily email newsletter, that sends subscribers news summaries on trending headlines, with both liberal and conservative perspectives.

During the event, Wahed shared her story on what inspired her to create an organization which opens up a discussion to the narrative of the other side.

Not long ago, Wahed was traveling around New Hampshire, campaigning for Hillary Clinton. As she knocked on doors and discussed politics with strangers, she soon discovered a wide chasm between herself and those who identified themselves as Republicans. She realized their views differed tremendously, and she believed different media sources from which a person obtained news was the cause of it. The political differences were so extreme, Wahed could barely begin to have a conversation with other people.

Wahed recognized until the bridge of news was resolved, the country would remain polarized. And so, “The Flipside” was born. Each day, Wahed and her staffers – an equal number of members on the left and right – choose one or two current, pertinent topics in American politics, review what sources are saying on both sides, and then compile it all together in an email that those on the Flipside’s mailing list can read the content in five minutes. This way, readers on either side of the political line can begin to understand the opposing narrative.

After discussing “The Flipside,” all the participants broke into two groups, and within these groups, began to discuss their own experiences with the ideological other side. The audience was asked to “think of a time when you felt ostracized for your political beliefs, a time when your political beliefs were different from others, but you felt welcomed/heard, a political discussion that went south, a political discussion that went well,” and so forth. For each topic, we were asked, “what made us feel this way?”

As the participants shared their stories, a common theme emerged: admittedly, listening to the other side can be difficult, and sometimes at the end, we all need to retreat back into our media bubble – but we feel safe enough to break through it in the first place if the people around us are respectful and genuinely interested in what we have to say.

At the event, Wahed also passed around a sign-up sheet to join the Flipside’s mailing list. Eager and curious, I wrote my email down, and have since received emails on topics such as Hope Hicks’s resignation, the Supreme Court case “Janus v. AFSCME,” and Oakland’s mayor tipping off the public about ICE raids. One morning I opened a Flipside email about Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum, and was surprised to learn that the right and the left, wary of these tariffs, were actually agreeing. “How often does this happen?” I wondered. Maybe I’ll find out, as I continue to read the Flipside.

For more awesome events, come to our Lunchtime 2.0 on Gun Control, Thursday, March 22 at 12:30 in the Main Dining Hall, and our Social Identity Fashion Show on April 16 at 6:30, Student Union 4th floor. For more info, please check out our Facebook page or cerru.org!

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