Segmented media contributes to political polarization

With the dawn of digital media, independent news agencies don’t need to have stories that pander to everyone, but this may not be a good thing.

Traditional news media historically have had to appeal to as many people as possible to make money. This prevented a news media outlet from focusing on a specific topic that might result in the loss of readers.

Now in the digital age, news agencies can focus on very specific areas to report on. For example, news outlets can focus on only agriculture or art. This has opened up a door that allows people to see what they want and only what they want.

A problem is created as a result. If a person only sees what they want to see, they aren’t hearing any other points of view about a topic. That leads to the person becoming more closed off to other ideas.

Climate change has been a hotly contested issue in America for the past few decades with the Democrats on one side of the argument and Republicans on the other. According to a report from the prestigious journal, Environment, the divide on this issue has gotten more polarized in past years. This has allowed the issue of climate change to be the most contested issue in American politics.

That raises the questions; Why is this happening? Why are people becoming more divided on this issue?

The Guardian writer, Dana Nuccitelli, seems to think that it’s because of conservative media.

“The industry has created an echo chamber in which they control the climate messaging of conservative media and party leaders,” she wrote, “which in turn trickles down to misinform Republican voters…”

The media influences the public in a very large way, both conservative and liberal. People count on it to form personal opinions on events in the world, and in a country where 7 percent of voters have ended friendships over the 2016 election, according to a poll on cleveland.com, media outlets need to realize that the way they are reporting effects the opinions of the masses.

NewsChart.png

Chart Courtesy of The Guardian

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