One of the most revealing things about my interview with Cenk Uygur this week was what it says about the importance of viewpoint. Early in the interview, we discussed the issue of bias, and the difference between bias and point of view. Next, though, I asked Cenk about Bernie's position on that gun manufacturers' liability shield, which Bernie has moved on, but still argues in favor of to some degree.
To my surprise, Cenk immediately conceded that guns are an issue that he thinks Hillary is better on, as well as education:
I wish I'd stayed on the topic a bit longer, because it sounded like Cenk had at least a few more examples of issues where he thinks Hillary Clinton is better, but just like his interview with Bernie, I was pushing our interview way past the time most people would put up with.
It's funny that Cenk brought up education, because until about a week ago, I just took it for granted that Bernie's plan, in the if-I-could-wave-a-magic-wand sense, was better than Hillary's because Hillary has done such a poor job of explaining it, and I just listened to what the candidates were saying. Hillary's talking point, that we don't want to give free college to Donald Trump's kids, was such horseshit that I probably tuned a lot of it out, because of course Donald Trump isn't going to send his kids to a state school. All I heard about during the debates was stuff about work-study and restructuring debt, and if she ever mentioned that her plan includes free tuition to community colleges, I never heard it.
That's a huge difference, and completely changed my mind on the issue. Everything else made sense, including Hillary's poor sales job. She used Trump in her talking point because the truth about Bernie's plan is political poison. Our taxes wouldn't be paying for Donald Trump's kids to go to school, but Bernie's plan would be a huge giveaway to middle- and upper-middle-class families who can afford something in between free college and the ridiculous costs they now incur.
Hillary's plan helps them, but it gives the better leg up to people who are truly struggling, and has the added benefit of being twice as plausible, if equally unlikely without a supermajority.
So, what's also fascinating is that even though Cenk agrees with Hillary on this, I never heard that, which is probably partially due to my own confirmation bias, and partially due to the volume of anti-Hillary stuff that TYT puts out. But that's why it's important to not allow our own notions of bias vs. point of view to automatically dismiss people. Yes, Cenk's pro-Sanders, but even while most of his panel was agreeing with Susan Sarandon last night, Ben Mankiewicz put up an excellent defense of Hillary Clinton's foreign policy that you sure as shit wouldn't hear on CNN.
By the same token, Cenk has his complaints about my coverage of this election, but he hadn't heard my defense of Bernie's animal rights record, nor would anyone hear it anywhere else. This tendency to cut ourselves off from differing points of view is not in our best interests.
I'll have more of my interview with Cenk coming soon, including a response to the criticism he's gotten in these parts.