The Future of Political Polarization in American Media

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Lucrum, May 9, 2013.

  1. Lucrum


    Imagine a world where the only media you consume serves to reinforce your particular set of steadfast political beliefs. Sounds like a pretty far-out dystopia, right? Well, in 1969, Internet pioneer Paul Baran predicted just that.

    In a paper titled “On the Impact of the New Communications Media Upon Social Values,” Baran (who passed away in 2011) looked at how Americans might be affected by the media landscape of tomorrow. The paper examined everything from the role of media technology in the classroom to the social effects of the portable telephone — a device not yet in existence that he predicted as having the potential to disrupt our lives immensely with unwanted calls at inopportune times.

    Perhaps most interestingly, Baran also anticipated the political polarization of American media; the kind of polarization that media scholars here in the 21st century are desperately trying to better understand.

    Baran understood that with an increasing number of channels on which to deliver information, there would be more and more preaching to the choir, as it were. Which is to say, that when people of the future find a newspaper or TV network or blog (which obviously wasn’t a thing yet) that perfectly fits their ideology and continuously tells them that their beliefs are correct, Americans will see little reason to communicate meaningfully with others who don’t share those beliefs.

    Baran saw the media’s role as a unifying force that contributed to national cohesion; a shared identity and sense of purpose. With more specialized channels at their disposal (political or otherwise) then Americans would have very little overlap in the messages they received. This, Baran believed, would lead to political instability and increased “confrontation” on the occasions when disparate voices would actually communicate with each other....
  2. pspr


    I think his prognostication of polarizing news channels playing to preconceived ideologies came to fruition.

    But, the uneducated masses still rely upon the major networks for their news which is pushing them into the 'left' column because all three sources have decidedly shifted left.

    Take away Fox News and structured media has all but shifted left. Conservatives with cash need to start new or take over some existing leftist trash media. So far, we are losing the game and it is showing up in wrong headed politicians and policy.
  3. That's why I support "The Blaze".