Confirmation bias is what psychologists call the human tendency to pay more attention to information and people that support our views and overlook what does not. This well-documented phenomenon often happens on an unconscious level; few of us fully escape its grip. It's possible my own struggle with confirmation bias is exacerbated because of how much I think about my own thinking. Add in the fact that I learn best via listening - vs. looking or doing - and complicate that further with a 24/7 news cycle, including hard-to-escape televisions in the public sphere, and today's reflection is born.
How often have you heard others say "I love so and so (fill in the name of a favorite public figure) because he/she says what is on everyone's mind?" First off, everyone is one of those absolutes signalling muddiness in the thinking of a speaker. But even allowing for the use of an absolute - call it hyperbolic speech - how about a basic recognition of confirmation bias? Surely there are people who do not have whatever that public figure said on their mind, right? How hard would it be to find a different public figure saying the exact opposite of what that favorite of ours is saying?
Switch the channel; read a different columnist; have regular conversations with someone you disagree with more often than you agree. Note to Pat: Follow your own coaching.