Study links U.S. polarization to TV news deregulation

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  • #241768

    • Total Posts: 1,199

    PULLMAN, Wash. – Increasing American political polarization is linked to television news deregulation following the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, according to a Washington State University study.

    “After 1996, we see changes in polarization based on how much television people are using,” said researcher Jay Hmielowski, assistant professor in WSU’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. He conducted the study with Murrow colleague Myiah Hutchens and former colleague Michael Beam, now at Kent State University.

    Their work was recently published online in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research (

    The telecommunications act sought to open markets to competition, but the result was consolidation. This included large companies like FOX and NBC buying smaller, independent TV stations and cable news channels.

    Study links U.S. polarization to TV news deregulation

  • #241771

    • Total Posts: 1,650

    “The telecommunications act sought to open markets to competition, but the result was consolidation.”

    Gee! Who could’ve predicted? :sarcasm:

    Remind again which crazy Republican President signed the Telecommunications Act?

    Oh. Wait. Never mind.

  • #241782

    • Total Posts: 550

    There was never any doubt of this in my mind.

    I have believed for a very long time that FOX News was the single greatest threat to functional, beneficial American politics.

    Casual political conversations often reveal FOX talking points, word for word. For example, blanket statements like; “Canadians come to America to get decent health care”, comes to mind. Most FOX junkies are complete lost causes. No amount of reasoning or logic can dissuade them from a lifetime of that brainwashing.

    Political polarization will continue indefinitely. There is no putting the “FOX” Genie back into the bottle.

    "I welcome their hatred" Franklin D Roosevelt

  • #241787

    • Total Posts: 2,209

    Yeah, thanks for that, Bill….

    I didn't refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton because any goddamned Russian told me to. I refused to vote for her because she is a warmongering, election stealing, Goldman Sachs fellating, Republican WHORE. No offense to sex workers.

  • #241788

    • Total Posts: 1,650

    @mick063 , my experience is that loyal MSDNC watchers are almost as brainwashed as FOX aficionados.

    Granted, I have more agreements with Rachel and Joy’s disciples, but I still find the whole phenomenon more than a little creepy.

  • #241789

    The Red Menace
    • Total Posts: 858

    1996 is also about the time the internet started taking off in the public sphere, and the TV news corps started losing their total control of “the message.”

    People were no longer bound to the tiny little overton porthole afforded by the media; before the internet, even the “partisan” news was, well bipartisan; all the news media was neoliberal, and just pretended to squabble over the most meaningless of social issues (“The War on Christmas!” for example)

    With the internet, people could turn off the TV and go find people who actually fit their own ideals, rather than having to try to hammer their ideals into whatever the TV told them was “acceptable.”

    I for one, think this is a good thing – yes, it HAS allowed fascists to meet and organize and recruit, and fascists suck… but now they are out and openly fascist and not stuck into pretending to be part of one party or another, the rot is exposed to air and can be addressed as it actually is. I much prefer my nazis to be wearing armbands and screaming about TEH JOOZ than being my quiet neighbor who I never thought about, you know? The same place that let these nerds organize, also allows their opponents the same, instead of just helplessly thinking we’re each the only ones who see the problem.

    I honestly don’t think “polarization” is a bad thing. People have ideas. The notion that all these ideas should be arranged in a tight little cluster and mostly agree with all the other ideas is absurd to me.

    The problem with our TV media isn’t just the consolidation – that IS definitely an issue – but more it’s the 24/7 news cycle afforded by cable news. Every minute is a deadline that needs to be filled immediately in this cycle. You always have to have something on the screen. You don’t have time to conduct multi-month investigations into an issue. You don’t have time for meaningful analysis. Strangely, news organizations having 1440 minutes every day to report on stuff… just ramped up the noise-to-information ratio from these outlets! In the need to fill EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of airtime… they basically became stenographers, tikki-takking word for word whatever elected officials or celebrities said. CNN is just TMZ for the beltway.

  • #241794

    David the Gnome
    • Total Posts: 1,650

    My first inclination was to say something sarcastic, but…

    This shit matters.  Fox and MSNBC are two sides of the same, shitty coin.  Given my background and life experience, I despise fox slightly more – but only slightly.

    They are shaping the narrative – and they are working hard on taking more control of it.  YouTube, Facebook, etc. Most of our online social and/or professional networking is considerably influenced by them.

    Sure, we can refuse to participate in them as a matter of principle – but unless many millions of people do the same that wont matter.  Fake news is whatever the authorities say it is – as far as censorship and legal control goes.

    Russia – the boogeymonster- is being used as a scapegoat so the authorities can take more and more control.  Corporate and federal – it is generally the same thing now.

    So, what should we do about it?  How do we take it back?  Honestly, without a dedicated, courageous and creative resistance movement, I dont think we can.  The McResistance doesnt count.

    Sooner or later, we will probably have to legally censor even forums like JPR – in far more serious ways.  Best bet might be to go off grid somehow, but I personally have no clue how to do that.

  • #241799

    • Total Posts: 1,072

    The answer can never be censorship of any kind.

    The internet has allowed like minded people to congregate for good and for bad,but the right of free speech shouldn’t be just for people you personally like or agree with.I am for freedom of speech and I am even for allowing white supremacists to find one another and spew their swill.There still aren’t enough of them to worry about,and we don’t need to live in fear of people like that just because the media want you to be.

    In fact,if the media tells you to like or dislike something,go the opposite way and you are on the right track

  • #241801

    • Total Posts: 192

    Seems as if it really started when Raygun dissolved the Fairness Doctrine. Everything started downhill fast after that.

    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Asimov; "If you push something hard enough, it will fall over." - Fud's First Law of Opposition

  • #241803

    • Total Posts: 2,041

    If all else fails blame freedom of the press.

     A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.

    Albert Camus

    Tell me, great captain, how do the angels sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on? Tom Waites

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