I’m not paying attention, but I don’t believe what you’re telling me

CNN ran a segment this morning where they interviewed several Trump voters in advance of Jim Comey’s expected testimony next week. They were asked a few questions relating to whether or not they still support the president.

The segment itself was short and fairly typical, but the most striking aspect of it was an answer one of the interview subjects gave. She was asked about her feelings on the Russia investigation and her response was something to the effect of “Well, I don’t believe in that, so I haven’t really been following it.”

What makes this statement important, particularly for journalists, is it shows the uphill battle we have with our audience, and it isn’t just about political stories or parties. The majority of the American audience is likely to “turn off” news items that they don’t “believe in” or agree with, even if there is new and important information.

The obvious question is, how can you know how you feel about something or if it is important if you refuse to pay attention to new information about it?

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This desire of people to stick their heads in the sand and ignore new information because there is something about the topic they don’t like or believe is one of the biggest roadblocks the news industry faces. It is our job to inform the public, but how do we respond when the public doesn’t wish to be informed?

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Bury your head in the sand…” by Sander van der Wel is licensed under CC BY-SA

Bury your head in the sand…” by Sander van der Wel is licensed under CC BY-SA