The Flip Side

Addressing the growing partisan divide in America

By Annafi Wahed

A Daring New Media Platform
The Problem

The rise of partisan media is fueling and amplifying a divided nation

The partisan gap in America is wider today than at any point in a quarter of a century. Bitter debates over politics have found their way into every part of our lives, from the dinner table to social media feeds.

In the last decade, biased media has been amplified by the rhetoric of smear campaigns and attack ads, contributing to growing stereotypes about each side and their viewpoints.


of Republicans and Democrats think the other party is a dangerous threat


of Americans reported getting into an argument with someone close to them about the last election

The Left believes that right-wing tribalism—bigotry, racism—is tearing the country apart. The Right believes that left-wing tribalism—identity politics, political correctness—is tearing the country apart. They are both right. - Amy Chua

Today’s state of polarization reflects unsettling shifts in our society, as well as the economy as a whole, leaving a majority of Americans feeling like strangers in their own country. Concerns around job securities, widening gaps in wages, and heightened racial tensions are all contributing to an uneasiness that is spilling over into media channels, journalism, and social dialogue.

For many, partisanship isn’t only relegated to politics anymore– neighborhoods, workplaces, households, and social media feeds are becoming more and more politically homogeneous. Shockingly, Americans are less likely to have neighbors who belong to another party than they were fifty years ago. Even bipartisan marriages are on the decline, as political affiliations are becoming a stronger filter for companionship.

In large part, the news most Americans see in their news feeds or on their favorite news channel merely echos their own views. It has become precarious to hold a public discourse between two parties who disagree without denigrating into an angry rant in which at least one person is attacked for their views as stupid, invalid, or even outright evil. Often, it is the loudest and most aggressive voices that get the most airtime, drowning out the pockets of healthy discourse that are actually happening.

It wasn’t long ago that American voting practices pointed to a very different pattern, widely demonstrating an affinity for a person over a political party. As recently as the 70s, voter preferences were only loosely tied to party lines. Today, many Americans choose to vote for party, regardless of their affinity for the associated candidate. Fifty years ago, 5% or less of Republicans or Democrats reported that they would be displeased if a son or daughter married someone from the other party. In 2008, that number had risen to 20%, and by 2010 it skyrocketed to 50% of Republicans and 33% of Democrats.

Partisanship has become part of American social identity, extending beyond mere viewpoints on policy or politicians, and has become near-religious. Research demonstrates that most people evaluate the same act or action differently based on which party is responsible, meaning that their view of “right” or “wrong” depends on who is doing it. And there’s a growing understanding that political identity has become performative: most Americans don’t just want to vote for their party, they want everyone to know who they voted for. In many cases, political affiliation is replacing ethnic origin, race, and religion as the foci of identity.

The Need for Change

Hyper-partisanship is bad for civilization

The majority of Americans fall into the “Exhausted Majority” (as coined by Hidden Tribes) and are largely fed up with tribalism and what partisanship is doing to their families and communities.


of Americans believe that the differences between political parties “aren’t big enough to cause irreparable division” and that political parties and people with different political opinions should be working together more closely.

When civility no longer exists in society at large, everything from work environments to social settings to financial profitability suffer. The consequences of polarization are widespread – from increased gridlock and dysfunction in Washington, DC, to sluggish economic performance nation-wide. Partisanship influences have been demonstrated to influence economic behavior in costly ways. For example, in one survey conducted, three-quarters of the subjects refused higher monetary compensation just to avoid helping the other political party. The obvious impact of political attachments on economic choices create long-term economic stagnation and poorer economic returns.

A decrease in civility has also been linked to mental and physical health issues, lower workplace productivity, lower rates of employee retention, and poorer customer relations. Disagreeing poorly, it turns out, is literally making us unhappy, unproductive, and unhealthy.

An Ambitious Solution

Bridging the divide between liberals, independents, and conservatives

For change to happen, more Americans need to focus on strengthening areas of common ground. For example, 81% percent of the population agrees that racism is a serious problem in the United States and 75% of Americans agree on immigration “Dreamers” policies and believe there should be a pathway for individuals to obtain citizenship through serving in the military or attending college.


of Americans are afraid that a lack of civility in politics will lead to increased violence


of Americans believe that civility has decreased since Trump was elected

It’s hard to convince liberals to watch Fox or conservatives to watch MSNBC. But if everyone has all the facts about both sides, we’ll at least have a starting point for healthy conversations.

For most of us, we know all too well that political and social polarization exists, but we’re not sure what we can do to fix it. Annafi Wahed felt the same way until July 2016, when she left her corporate job in NYC to campaign for Democratic party candidates in New Hampshire. Walking door to door, she saw firsthand how even next-door neighbors could be completely isolated from one another by the news they consume. In the months following the election, as talk of “fake news” and “filter bubbles” became commonplace, Annafi began dreaming about a way to create a shared news source in a world of a billion news feeds.

The Flip Side is a new kind of news platform that helps bridge the gap between liberals and conservatives. Every day, they scour over 30 top publications to find the most thoughtful and informed perspectives on major issues. Then they deliver a 5-minute overview (via a snazzy email) of what’s happening from the left and right. It’s a one-stop shop for smart, concise summaries of political analysis from both conservative and liberal media.

The Promise:

Get to the heart of one or two major news topics a day, such as gun control, sanctions, politicians, laws/policies, and more.

  • See who’s being impacted and get the most prevalent viewpoints from both sides
  • Be able to defend your stance against the best arguments from the other side
  • Keep your own bias in check – feel good knowing you’re not living in a filter bubble

One of the challenges Annafi has encountered is that in today’s society, being bipartisanship simply isn’t cool. With hyper-partisanship at an all-time high, anything that is perceived as neutral or fair is considered suspicious. However, Annafi’s vision for The Flip Side is slowly starting to change minds. With over 10,000 subscribers in just a few months, more people are recognizing the value in thoughtful, civil dialogue. To raise awareness around the issue of media filters, The Flip Side recently produced a video campaign called #FixTheFilter which highlights the need to take back control of our news feeds from censoring the news and viewpoints we’re receiving.

The Flip Side’s hope is to be a small part of influencing a shift back towards more civility, healthy dialogue, and a decrease in hyper-partisanship. For now, their goal is to be your shortcut to understanding the other side: sign up for their daily newsletter to get the whole political picture with the best points from both sides.