By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Here’s some non-breaking news for you – people are different. We see things differently, hear them differently, and respond to the same set of facts in different ways. It has always been that way. So why does it seem that lately, this perception gap is getting worse?

The latest example is an audio clip posted by a Georgia high school student. While the voice clearly says “Laurel,” many listeners claim it says “Yanny.” Experts explain this is a function of what part of the frequency range your ears pick up.

dress1 Keller @ Large: The Perception Gap Is Getting Worse

Dress debate (WBZ-TV)

Then there was the raging debate a few years ago over whether or not this dress is white and gold or blue and black. For the record, the dress was blue and black, but good luck persuading the people who saw white and gold.

The perception gap is also clearly widening when it comes to our political culture. In overwhelming numbers, Republicans look at President Trump and see a bold, strong leader. Democrats see a selfish, dishonest fraud.

And the gap extends to issues too.

According to the Pew Research Center, a decade ago, 54 percent of Democrats said government should do more to help the poor, and 45 percent of Republicans agreed. Today, there’s a huge 71-24 percent difference. In 1994, a virtually equal percentage of Democrats and Republicans felt that immigrants strengthen America. Today it’s a yawning 84-42 percent gap.

We can’t even agree on how a dog would wear pants if dogs wore pants, even though it’s obvious that only the hind legs would be covered.

And a final reminder: it’s Laurel.

Share your misperceptions with me via email at, or reach out on twitter, @kelleratlarge.

  1. One of the biggest misconceptions in our world today is that “journalists” report “the news”.

    No. they don’t. Key facts are left out or the matter doesn’t get any attention. Editorializing is rampant…Any time an adjective or adverb is used colors what follows. Denial is the go-to response to anyone who brings up the error.

    And, Jon, while you are not the most guilty of the practice, you do tend to slip the editorial comments in with the presentation of the facts.

    Your are an analyst and commenter on the world of today. Bias from you are expected.

    You are, often, guilty of he time-test “cherry picking” of your facts, and of giving your game away in the methods you use to lay out your premises. Some call that “style”.

    I call that putting your thumb on the scale, likely because the strength of your argument is insufficient to carry the day without including the component of emotional blackmail.

    Perhaps you should clean the insides of the windows of your glass house before you start looking to see how poorly cleaned the windows of your neighbors are.

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