History tends to repeat its self far to often and usually in a way that people do not realize is a repeat. Blogs and other Online Social Interactive Media (OSIM) is creating a bigger divide in politics and partisanship. There is a catch though, this is not anything new, in fact it is history reverting to how politics used to be. One could argue that we have recently lived in a relatively partisan media free environment and that in its self is a historical anomaly.
In the book Blog Wars by Dr. David Perlmutter a chapter is dedicated to the argument and counter argument that blogs and OSIM’s are deepening the divide in partisan politics. Not to assert my opinion into this post, but I do agree.
These new online media sources, be blogs or partisan media sites, such ashuffingtonpost.com, moveon.org or townhall.org, provide readers with partisan information but called news. Now these sites do relay the information, but in a skewed and partisan way. They do not go against their party or leadership and spend the time spinning information against their views. Needless to say we cannot call these sites unbiased or “fair and balanced” news sources. But people are getting their news from these sites. If a site like this tells your Obama wants to end the coal industry using quotes from a news article you believe it, it’s your source of news. But what happens when that site leaves out key information that misleads you on what Obama was really saying?
These are the problems we are facing with partisan news sites such as these, they are intended to only give you their side of the news. As more and more people get access to the Internet we approach a new place in America. It was recently published that online media sources were the most accessed for information on the presidential election. And with so many partisan sites, it only deepens the divide of politics. You choose where you get your news and information, there are numerous heavily trafficked partisan online news sources and online news sources were the most used for information on the presidential election. This all equals one thing; more people are getting their news from partisan sites.
I said earlier that this is history repeating its self though and it is. Historically there have not been “bipartisan” news sources. From the founding of the States through the late 1800’s your paper was aligned with a political partyor faction and your subscribers would also members of those parties and factions.
During Abraham Lincoln’s election for president you either subscribed to a republican paper or a democratic paper depending on your political leaning. You got plenty of news sources and information, but the paper wrote only in favor of Lincoln and only against Stephen Douglas or the other two opponents.
The point is, historically your only received your news and information from partisan news sources. It has only been since the early 1900’s that papers really shed their political affiliation and became truly neutral sources of news, arguably anyway.
Yes, balkanization is taking affect, people are feelings a deeper divide and a deeper partisanship then in recent years. The Internet has given partisan people the ability to spread their word for the first time cheaply and effectively. But what people need to remember is that this is normal, we are only reverting to what news once was, partisan.
–posted by Henry Kepps
Originally posted November 11, 2008 at PolicyByBlog