HQ Publications

Wise Wednesday

Wise Wednesday
The News Media, Trump and Polarization

Many, many factors contributed to the election of Donald Trump. The news media’s fundamental rules of engagement – their protocols and ways of covering the news – was one factor and continues to be one of the Trump Administration’s greatest sources of support. Trump and his team know how to exploit these rules – the media’s thirst – which is but a reflection of the population’s thirst – for conflict, to have everything framed in overly simplified, either/or terms, as a contest between just two contestants, and what’s left of what used to be called the media’s “Fairness Doctrine,” in which the two sides are treated as morally and ethically equivalent and merit equal time – as well as the 24/7 news cycle and the ascendancy of social media.

For example, on the so called “news”, we’re constantly presented with polls of Republicans and Democrats. Unfortunately, at this time in our history, these two groups represent polar extremes, emphasizing the either/or conflicting contest. What about the Independents? The people in the middle who shun labels? What are they thinking? I’d like to hear about them. They’re the fastest growing segment of the population – thank God – driven to the center by the overwrought PC on the left and the absurd paranoia on the right.

What about the Independents, the seemingly “silent” majority, that sat out the 2016 election, thereby giving it to Trump, and that tend towards Republicans? What about the Independents? Are they still trending Republican? What do they think about the attacks on the FBI? What do they think about how the Trump administration is unceasingly gnawing at American consensus and institutions?

Couldn’t the so called “news” media ease off pandering to the population’s seemingly bottomless craving for conflict and drama and cover the Independents and why they’re the fastest growing segment of the American public? They could. They could stop feeding the fire of polarization and begin to seek consensus. Will they? Probably not.

 
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