Motivated Reasoning

“Worse, the world is complex, and very few of us can take the time to develop sound opinions on the vast range of issues that arise in Washington. Even if you’re a health-care expert, the likelihood that you’re also an expert on Chinese currency manipulation, and ethnic tensions in Syria, and prison policy, is pretty slim. So people end up relying on the authorities we trust, be they media figures, issue advocacy groups or politicians. But those validators aren’t simply concerned with the truth. They’re looking to get ratings, to fundraise, to maximize their influence, to get reelected, to retain standing among their peers. Their reasoning is motivated, too. But that’s not how their followers see them.

– From “Wonkblog” by Ezra Klein