Why Are We So Polarized About News And Politics Now?

The central topic of our time currently is, what is increasing the gap between political movements and opinions right now? Why is it that unlike ever before, we as a society are increasingly heading toward mass disharmony and maybe even violence? Politics is the number one issue in many people’s minds as there are great changes taking place in the world. Europe has its own political landscape but in terms of outright conflict between the left and right, America is taking it to another level. There are people fighting in the street, namely two groups that can be defined as Antifa and Center-right coalitions. Fundamentally it's a question of values and policies. For the liberals, they want to see open borders, a destruction of nations and a system that is geared to identity politics. What you see on the right or the coalition in America is centrists, center-right conservatives, libertarians and classical liberals, wanting to keep nations and borders, a maintenance of law and order, and trying to drag out emotions from civilized discussion. Let's go into this a little more.


Source Gage Skidmore


Fighting the person, not the idea

Following the election of Trump as president, something curiously strange started to happen. This person who had been a public personality, a figure on television shows where he pointed his finger at people and said “you’re fired” was being accused of being racist, a fraud, an outlaw and sexual abuser. All of these allegations came at once and no one knew what to believe. He had been in the eyes of America as the classic New Yorker, business, and trade mogul that had billions thanks to his real estate deals.

The left, namely the Democratic Party, began to attack him personally and in a very public way. However, the question is why did they not attack the ideas he was standing on, and instead go for him personally? Well, Middle America voted for the Republican candidate because he promised more jobs and lower taxes. This after the premiership of Obama looked enticing and normal everyday people didn’t seem to care about those allegations and just wanted a better life for themselves. One could argue that the Democrats found it easier to paint their enemy as an uneducated monster than to look at their own ideas, see where they went off the rails in public support and try to see what they could try to offer voters.


Image by Josh Hallett


Who to believe?

US political polarization is taking a new form in that, what news outlets are ‘fake news’? There are so many to choose from and somehow many seem to be saying different things, what should the public choose to take seriously and ignore? CNN is the main hard-liberal news source that regularly goes after anything the 45th leader of the US does in office. On the other hand, Fox News seems to praise Trump on anything he does. They both have different viewing numbers and ratings, with CNN falling behind substantially over the last year or so. Fox News has been steady but due to both not really innovating and trying to hack their way into new media, are declining slowly.

Many news broadcasting companies will only have on certain experts in different fields, and both the left and right seem to pick people that corroborate their values. In essence what you have are echo chambers, where people on side totally say something different to the other. There seems to be no way to trust any of the traditional media news outlets.


Photo by Esther Vargas


Alternative media is rising

News anchors have become personalities themselves. Rather than report the narrative, they are trying to run the narrative. Alternative media sources are simply people that have never worked in the media but have knowledge, degrees, and great knowledge of certain subject matters and they produce videos that are viewed only online. On the left, you have YouTube channels like TYT, and on the right, you have channels like Steven Crowder. People watch their videos for a lot longer than news channels. And since all of their consumption is done online, people are able to pause videos and do their own research to see who is telling the truth. One of the greatest things about alternative media is that there are conversations and debates happening in the comment sections. Anyone with an account on YouTube can post and reply to a comment. Therefore you have people from the left and right, actually debating one another, rather than shielding themselves off from each other.


It's a fascinating time to see the changes the media is going through. Politics is getting so interesting. However, more and more people feel polarized and traditional media may not be helping the issue.