How news influences partisanship

Dec 2018
1,631
1,012
Wisconsin
#1
I was born in 87 so I wasn't around for much of what I'm about to say. I'd love to hear from those who were around.

In the 70s, there were essentially three TV news programs that everyone watched: NBC, ABC, and CBS nightly news. Those three programs all aired at the same time and everyone watched them (probably not much else on). Oddly enough, the three programs presented pretty much the same stories as they sought to be the best at accuracy. So everyone essentially got the same story and got the same perspective.

Then in 1987, the FCC eliminated the Fairness Doctrine, which required news organizations both to present issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced.

Then in 1988, a little known radio show premiered known as The Rush Limbaugh Show. Rush learned that presenting and commentating on the news through a political lens was incredibly profitable. Shortly after, Ted Turner evolved his 24-hour news network into political commentary in the same manner Rush did. They learned it was a lot easier to make their audience feel than it was to make them think. This meant they could "cover" more stories on a wider variety of topics. Several news outlets followed and essentially segments of the population could look at the exact same story and come away with a completely different narrative.

Fast forward to today. We have complicated stories that are being covered in a partisan fashion and have to be done so in a series of 45-90 second segments. The news is essentially covering the world in spark-notes.

So is there anything that can be done? I say yes. And the answer is in new media. Podcasts like the Ben Shapiro show and Pod Save America take complicated stories and spend 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 2 hours, sometimes even 3 hours covering them. Even if the perspective is biased (which they are), they generally allow for a much more developed look at these complicated issues. Even if you look at speaking tours of guys like Shapiro, along with Jordan Peterson, Chris Harris, and Neal Degrasse Tyson, there's an appetite for long-form discussion across the country. Part of the reason I like the Rachel Maddow show (even though the bias is a bit [cough] much) is she covers her lead story for about 20-25 minutes before her first commercial break.

Now I recognize most Americans don't want to sit down for dinner and watch a 30 minute story on the debt crisis, but if major new organizations are willing to present long-form versions of the major stories that are affecting this country, we could see a reduction in the partisanship that's dividing this country.
 
Apr 2013
36,606
24,876
La La Land North
#2
The rise in popularity of podcasts suggest that maybe your analysis is correct in one way. But still, with only so many hours available to even old retired people like me and so much out there, screening is necessary.

I came very late to Twitter but really like it now. It took me a while to learn how to maximize its benefit for me. I follow a few reporters from media in the central range of Mediafactcheck. These reporters almost always link their tweets to a media story. I can then chose the ones that interest me and/or I feel are important. Then I can read the linked story and Google it for other reports.

I get the detail I want that way but I need to work at searching it out. And I still like that more than just accepting a few podcaster's views.
 

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