To be sure, there has been some serious misbehavior, but people continue to debate how bad it actually is and how far up the chain-of-command it goes. We may never know the answer to the latter. But regardless of one's politics and whether one is apt to give the Obama Administration the benefit of the doubt or assume its guilt, it is a good idea for all of us to think, once again, how every single one of us struggles with confirmation bias. Science Daily defines confirmation bias:
"In psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias (or confirmatory bias) is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions, leading to statistical errors. Confirmation bias is a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis."The fact that confirmation bias exists does not mean we can never get to the truth of something, but we must realize that it seems very natural for us to minimize or discard completely the evidence that undermines our position and exaggerate the information that confirms what we already believe. So, while we cannot avoid confirmation bias, we can be aware of it, and attempt to be fair and consider everything that is before us.
By the way, confirmation bias is not only a problem in politics; it is present in theological reflection and biblical interpretation as well. Perhaps this is one important reason why that regardless of the topic of discussion, we should seek to intentionally gather different voices at the table. Confirmation bias becomes more entrenched when we associate only with the like-minded.
Ultimately, it's not about what we want to believe; it is about what is actually true.