Another category … Stop an Echo.
An echo, in fact, is a rotten chestnut bouncing around in a political echo chamber, imparting its moldy “wisdom” on everyone it hits.
Stopping an Echo is the act of publicly challenging one or more of these chestnuts. The object is not really to change the mind of the person who just offered the chestnut, but to provide a baffle, a challenge if you will, to let the hot air out of it before it has a chance to infect someone who might be listening or reading.
It doesn’t hurt to try to convince the perpetrator, but don’t get your hopes up. Try to remember to be civil if you can. It does make the perp look particularly bad if you appear to be the adult in the room while they get all unhinged. Nothing like contrast to show a bystander who has a better grip on reality. Besides, I find my own calmness in the face of their hysteria drives them batty.
And with that, I’ll re-post one of my more widely viewed and circulated old posts from The Clue Batting Cage right here. This is where it started. Several Chrsitmas’ ago. It’s become a big campaign of mine to get people to engage in this.
The rotten chestnut here, the echo that needed to be stopped?
Fox News Lies
So I’m sitting around with family, and one conservative member mentions something he saw on Fox News.
A progressive member starts in with the passive-aggressive giggle of dismissal, and then the condescending “you mean you watch Fox News?”
And the conservative member says “Yup. Fair and balanced.”
More giggles. “Oh, gosh! Do you know how many lies they tell?”
Now normally when this progressive member disparages Fox News (this is certainly not the first time) I keep my mouth shut in the name of family harmony. Which I think, unfortunately, only re-enforces the idea in such people’s minds that their assertion is correct.
But I decided I needed to chime in this time. The giggles are one thing. The condescension I usually gloss over. But the “lies” thing. I wasn’t going to let that drop.
“No. I don’t know. Tell me a lie Fox News has told.”
Giggles. “Well I don’t watch it.”
“So you don’t watch it, but you know they tell lies? How do you know they tell lies?”
“Well I read somewhere…”
“You read somewhere? How do you know that wasn’t a lie?”
“Well I don’t. They all do it, that’s what I’m saying.”
“Then why single out Fox?”
“Well I read somewhere that they were the worst.”
“And you believe what you read?”
“Well let’s not get into anything political. Why can’t people just talk about things anymore?”
Why not indeed. Who brought it up? Who got nasty about it?
Fortunately, I suppose, the phone rang. It was for the progressive.
So I’m sitting here thinking … “Fox News lies, but you don’t have any examples and you don’t watch it. They all lie, but you know Fox is ‘the worst’ because you read something one of the other liars wrote?”
The problem is, they’re used to people either politely keeping quiet, backing down, or patting them on the head for echoing what they’ve been instructed to believe and many others have accepted … typically the people they hang out with.
Don’t let it happen anymore. When anyone tries to espouse how “hateful” conservative-friendly networks and show hosts are, make them back it up. Watch them back down. Stop an echo.