8 Week Main Street Tolerance Challenge: ‘New’ News One Day a Week

Today, in the interest of Mainstreet Women’s cry for tolerance, I’m issuing an 8-week challenge:   One Day a Week, Let’s Access Some “New” News.

According to the Pew Research Center’s 2010 study, where we get our news tells a lot about our views. (http://www.people-press.org/2010/09/12/americans-spending-more-time-following-the-news/) The table below offers some of Pew’s findings:  is it the chicken or egg?

Do we choose our news based on our views or does the news we choose shape our views? Or, like most things in life is it a yes/and rather than either/or condition? Americans News and Views

Main Street Man Sparks Challenge

I met a great guy on a flight from Phoenix to St. Louis recently:  Adam. He’s firefighter and no, this isn’t going to be a Nora Roberts’ story where romance struck at 30,000 feet. We did get intimate insofar as Adam gave me permission to nudge him if he started snoring.

Adam grew up in the shadow of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Today, he’s happily married and has two children:  a boy and a girl. His son is in the military and his 16-year old daughter is just starting to look at colleges she’ll attend after high school graduation.

In many ways, Adam is as “Main Street” as can be. Adam loves Bill O’Reilly.

Tolerance MonsterNoticing My Intolerance Monster

My lively conversation with Adam almost ended right there. He said he’s “addicted” to O’Reilly. He especially loves how O’Reilly really ‘takes people on’ and shakes them up. My intolerance monster started rapidly clawing at my brain:  loves Bill O’Reilly? We must have nothing in common…

I beat back my monster and listened carefully to Adam. Clearly he cares about his family, about firefighters, about the communities he serves, about our nation.

I shared with Adam what women all across America said they’d change immediately in the U.S. if given the chance:  tolerance.

We talked about how we’ve fallen into this chasm of personalized news selection where we’re only getting slices from specific ideological perspectives and this is fueling intolerance of one another’s views. As Mainstreet Women suggested, this is even fostering the vitriol in Washington, DC, making it seemingly impossible for Congress to take action for the good of the American people.

8 Weeks to Optimum Tolerance

ChallengeRemember Dr. Andrew Weil’s best-seller 8 Weeks to Optimum Health? If you haven’t read it, unfortunately you’ve come to the wrong comprehensive source.

My Dad gave me a copy back in 1997 when I was in law school (an obvious hint, hint about my unhealthy ways) and couldn’t read one, more, word.

I did flip through it and locked on one stellar recommendation:  one a day a week, take a news ‘fast.’

Dr. Weil, I want you to know that advice is something I’ve carried with me ever since. I notice when my blood pressure elevates while listening to the news. I breathe through the party bickering and scenes from Syria. I still care, I simply pay attention closer attention to how the news is affecting my body and, I do frequently news fast.

Inspired by Adam and Dr. Weil — how about we shake ourselves up and get into the shoes of “the others.” Let’s see what we can learn from hearing what they hear, reading what “they” read.

Let’s call it 8 Weeks to Optimum Tolerance!

If we get our news from Fox, watch PBS. Listen to NPR? Try Rush Limbaugh a day a week. Love Jon Stewart? Hannity or O’Reilly that day will do. If you normally read the NY Times each day, hmm, perhaps the Wall Street Journal for a day.

I’m all “in” but taking it in baby steps. Last week I watched two of the networks’ nightly newscasts rather than Current TV and the PBS Newshour.

This week: Bill O’Reilly is on my tolerance to-do list. Thanks Adam.

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