The things we believe in: A FRAY Manifesto

Have you ever lost someone close to you?

I don’t mean they died. I mean have you lost someone who decided your friendship wasn’t worth it anymore? That’s worse than losing them to death sometimes—knowing they’re out there, alive, and just can’t bear to be your friend anymore. I lost friends this election season. Maybe you did, too. My wife lost family members. You might have as well.

2016 was a bad year for Empathy.

Hillary Clinton had a bad year. Samsung had a bad year. Ryan Lochte had a bad year. But Empathy had a really bad year. Friendships were lost or damaged because of who we supported in the presidential election. Families were torn apart over which news sources we trusted. People were ridiculed for voting their conscience and not choosing one of the top two presidential contenders. That’s not healthy.

I believe in the power of Empathy. I believe in the power of Truth. I believe in Kindness, and in Compassion, and in Honesty, and in the power of giving Grace.

I don’t believe we live up to that very often, though. And I definitely don’t believe the media live up to it very often, either.

It’s out of those convictions that FRAY was born.

Who is FRAY?

We are a collection of political progressives, moderates, and conservatives.

We identify as Republican, Independent, Democrat, Black, White, Hispanic, Indian-American, Queer, Straight, Christian, Atheist, Libertarian, Berniecrat, Classical Liberal, Socialist, and Deplorable.

We all love America and want what’s best for her—we just disagree on how that’s done.

We are a group of people united against bias in reporting and for fair coverage of multiple viewpoints.

We are willing to talk openly about our beliefs with those who disagree, and to work together to make America better.

What is FRAY?

At FRAY, we take one current event per issue and cover both sides in our famous Six-Minute Emails. We start with a bulleted, sourced, and bias-free fact sheet, on which our team must unanimously agree. Then we have a conservative and a progressive respond to the facts in an openly biased manner. Taken together, these elements can give you a better understanding of the news, a new way to look at your own bias, and perhaps even a fresh perspective.

What do we believe?

We believe truth is objective and absolute.

Facts are knowable, inflexible things. We will aggressively call out lies and misleading statements by both sides. Our job will be not only to eliminate bias in our stories, but also to identify and call out bias from other sources.

We believe real-world application is more important than deep policy talk.

We believe that you should be able to understand what’s happening in this country without a minor in Political Science. We will explain policies when necessary, and our contributors will advocate for them, but always with the intent to inform you rather than exclude you.

We believe there are smart people on both sides of the aisle.

No party has the market cornered on intellectualism. We believe that most people want to make the world a better place, and that parties can be a functional way of turning that desire into reality. There can be fair debate between intellectually honest people.

We believe in adversarial as a format.

Bias is a tough nut to crack. But we hate it, so we’re taking our best shot. Anchoring each story with both a conservative and a progressive viewpoint forces us to agree on a set of facts from which we draw our conclusions. Those facts, by nature of the agreement of oppositional contributors, are also stripped of selection bias.

We believe tension is growth.

Reading two diametrically opposed conclusions will help curb your bias. Competing ideas generate tension. Tension is good. Tension means you’re challenging yourself. Challenging yourself is the only way you grow.

We believe empathy is a muscle.

Empathizing with others is healthy. If you seek to learn why people react differently than you, then you will understand them better and be capable of empathizing more fully with those around you.

We believe new ideas make for fresher minds.

You might actually change your mind. Shocker, but sometimes other people are smarter than you. Sometimes an idea that originates outside your small political bubble is better for everyone.

This is how we choose to engage with news and politics. If it sounds like the way you might want to engage, enter your email address below to subscribe and we’ll send you a new issue of FRAY each Monday and Wednesday.