Letters to the Editor

Media changes at root of divided body politic

Deeply rooted conviction keeps conservatives and liberals profoundly divided. Why?

Here is my take: It has to do with modern media changes and the resulting demise of many newspapers. There was a time when the only source of news was the newspaper. The paper contained all the news that was fit to print. Opinion was restricted to the editorial page. All political views were presented in the one source. For many years, radio and television followed the print example of journalism in the attempt to provide balanced coverage, while increasing their emphasis on news. The more news there was on the air, the less important was the printed news.

Slowly, broadcasters introduced changes and began to carve out demographic segments as targets for their broadcasts in either music or opinion. Now there are more than two dozen music formats. For political opinion, broadcasters turned to glib showmen to boost the audiences. Balanced reporting on cable outlets and AM radio became almost nonexistent. Celebrity pundits pound on their own radical themes. A sizable audience buys in to these diatribes on a daily basis. "Fair and balanced" went out the window. Even the Internet has its craftily designed websites that repeat one point of view over and over.

Now there's more news but less information. Many are sublimely content to luxuriate in their own ignorance of all the facts and buy the most entertaining propaganda. I guess I'm old-fashioned. My day starts with my nose in a paper.

Major Short

Hilton Head Island

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