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Obama's Nightly Reading and Confirmation Bias

Reading what you want to read.

10:43 AM, Feb 25, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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In his opening statement at the health care summit, President Obama mentioned his nightly routine. Each day, his staff selects ten letters sent to the White House from around the country and delivers them to the Oval Office. Obama then takes them up to the residence when he leaves for the day. The president mentioned that a lot of those letters call for health care reform. No problem with that. But it's also worth noting that there are plenty of other letters being sent to the White House urging the president to drop the current legislation and focus instead on his economic program. At least, that's what we can infer from the polls. How many of those letters does Reggie Love give the president to read? Probably not many.

We all search out information and arguments that confirm our biases. That's human nature. But to defeat those biases, we need constantly to engage with arguments against our position, and to treat them seriously. And when you don't do that, you end up in a political predicament like the one the Democrats are in today.

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