If this election has taught us anything, it’s that we are a divided nation. In a time that many feel their strongly held beliefs and values are threatened, there tends to be unwillingness to try to have a dialogue with those on the other side of the aisle. Without an understanding of how the other side thinks, it’s difficult to make meaningful changes in our political system. We end up living in a bubble.
Leslie Kaufman —a Montclair resident and journalist for over 25 years — joined with Jennifer Bassett — a content marketer and digital strategist — to create Red For the Blue with the goal to help liberals break out of their political “Blue Bubble.” The email newsletter covers right-leaning news for the left-leaning citizen.
The women came up with the idea to create Red For the Blue after a bracing post-election coffee shop lunch at Raymond’s in January.
“We are news junkies. But when the election happened in November, we were bowled away,” explains Kaufman. “What we had been reading did not explain what we were seeing. The election of Donald Trump seemed inexplicable to us and our friends in Montclair. That is when we determined that we had to get out of our so-called Blue Bubble.”
Kaufman says they were both aware of the news stories showing how the rise of social media and personalized algorithms had amplified our tendency to hide or mute what isn’t similar to our own beliefs.
“We realized that we needed to get outside our carefully curated world of left-leaning news in order to find out what the people voting for Trump were reading and listening. Why were they not alarmed by the same things we were? We knew fake news was part of the problem, but that could not be the sole explanation,” explains Kaufman.
She says many of her friends in Montclair agreed, but many said they didn’t have the time nor, the stomach to wade through the hyperpolarized news from conservative and alt-right sources. And that’s where Red For the Blue comes in.
Kaufman and Bassett comprehensively survey and analyze news coming from right-leaning sources, focusing on outlets often overlooked by and invisible to the mainstream press. They cover the daily messages of influential talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones, and alt-right outlets such as Breitbart and Independent Journalism Review. They also scrutinize self-made pundits and influencers across Twitter and other social media platforms, as well as newsletters circulated under the radar by conservative organizations and Congressmen. And of course, they keep their eye out for trending fake news, as well.
They then analyze their findings in an easily digested 4 or 5 point report and deliver it in newsletter by email. They stress that they are careful not to amplify the message of the right, but to unpack and translate it for our audience. They do the work to help you stay informed and engaged.
Red For the Blue officially launched two weeks ago and Kaufman says subscriptions are growing steadily. You can subscribe to receive the newsletter online here. You can also follow on Twitter or Facebook.