Can We Blame The Internet For Political Polarization?


It seems logical to blame the internet for our growing political polarization. Some blame “fake news” shared on Twitter and Facebook for the outcome of the 2016 election. And we know tens of millions of Americans get their news from social media.

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End The White House Press Briefing

Last week when Sean Spicer expelled CNN, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and others, apart from the habitual antics of a juvenile administration, perhaps it was a harbinger of a new post-briefing era. While this administration’s anti-First Amendment frolicking is repulsive, it could just be President Trump and Sean Spicer did us all a favor. I say we end the White House press briefing.

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Will Trump’s War On The News Media Work?

With President Trump’s “fake news” crusade now turned up to eleven, we are left little choice but to assume it is part of a broader de-legitimizing strategy. And strategy is the job of Steve Bannon, Trump’s White House Chief Strategist. Bannon told the New York Times in January that the “media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.” Bannon was talking about how the media was wrong about the 2016 election, never mind that the polls were not all that far off from the popular vote tally. “The media here is the opposition party,” said Bannon in the Times interview. “They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.” If it is a blueprint, Trump’s anti-media bombast is a plan likely architected by Steve Bannon.

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Fox News Seeded Trump’s ‘Fake News’ Paranoia

The Fox News and conservative talk radio war against the mainstream media seeded Donald Trump’s “fake news” paranoia. There is nothing new about politicians going after the news media, but Donald Trump takes this time-honored practice to an absurd level made possible by his uniquely narcissistic personality. When it comes to what people say about him, Trump has an uncontrollable obsession. And now he has a new tool for his bravado, anything less than flattery is “fake news.”

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This Is What Liberal Media Bias Looks Like (To The Rest Of Us)

When conservatives deliver sermons on the liberal biased mainstream media, first I wonder what exactly constitutes “mainstream.” I suppose if you aren’t mainstream, then you are what some call “new” or “alternative” media, but do conservatives really believe Fox News falls into this surrogate classification? I grant we could assign Fox News to a class of its own, but even if their brand nurtures a conservative echo chamber, I find it troublesome to view a high-rated cable news network as anything other than predominant. That makes Fox News very much part of the mainstream, never mind the radio airwaves dominated by conservative talk. And we haven’t even dived into the corporate owned news. Just how often do we apply the “liberal” label to media conglomerates? So when conservatives refer to the mainstream media, they definitely aren’t including Fox News, or conservative radio, or the corporate entities that own all media, because that might detract from their directive.

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Yes Trump Can Win. Democrats Are Deluded If They Think Hillary Is A Lock.

The normal state of mind for the average Democratic voter is despair. Democrats and liberals fear their candidate will lose, always. But as it turns out, at least in presidential years, this fear of loss is a catalyst that gets Democrats and liberals to the polls. That has led to popular vote wins for Democrats in five of the last six presidential elections. The only exception was in 2004 when George W. Bush won the popular vote, giving him a second term as president. Unfortunately that pesky electoral college (and a controversial Supreme Court ruling) led to Bush, a Republican, winning in 2000 even though he lost the popular vote to Al Gore, a Democrat. For some reason this fear of loss doesn’t fuel Democrats to the polls during non-presidential years, a topic we’ll bookmark for another day.

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MSNBC Super Tuesday Coverage Unexpectedly Terminated

I’ll admit, I’m a night owl, so yes, I was still up shortly before 1:30am on the Wednesday after Super Tuesday when MSNBC decided to abruptly pull the plug on its live Super Tuesday coverage. Okay, I admit, I’m still up writing this damn article. So, MSNBC had their usual coverage team this election season with Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow at the helm. They were on the air all night, announcing poll closures and projected winners. I thought for sure they would end their live coverage at 1AM, which is when I planned to go to bed. But, shock and surprise, they continued their live coverage beyond 1am Eastern. So, being the fool that I am, I stayed up to continue watching. Then at around 1:20ish Brian Williams dispatched us to a commercial break, and when coverage returned, the graphic on the bottom right changed from “Live” to “Earlier,” but otherwise no mention of the end of live coverage. Would it have been so hard for MSNBC to announce that they were ending their live Super Tuesday coverage for the night? I mean, why not just end it at 1AM? Now, this would be totally bizarre, except here’s one small problem, they’ve done this before. If MSNBC is trying to compete with other cable news networks, maybe they need to try to show less contempt for their audience. I mean seriously, as if we wouldn’t notice?

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MSNBC’s New Lean Forward-Less Graphics Package

If you haven’t yet noticed, MSNBC made a major change to their graphics package starting this past weekend. I first noticed it on Up with Steve Kornacki on Saturday 8/15. The revamped graphics package appears to be in use across all live programming on MSNBC. Gone is the show and network branding at the top of the screen. “Lean Forward” is not to be found anywhere. Did they officially retire that slogan? It appears there are no graphics at the top of the screen during shows with the exception of split-screen segments. Also notable, is that show branding is kept to a minimum, only seen for about a second in the lower right corner of the screen at the start of a show and when returning from commercials. That area then morphs into the new MSNBC logo which has returned to all capital letters (the logo had been all lowercase since 2009).

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