Yep, it’s the media’s fault

082016themedia
The grand conspirators

According to those who make a living assigning blame for society’s ills, I have been part of a profession that is often blamed for just about anything bad that happens.

“It’s the media’s fault,” is the cry of those who feel that those of us who try and report the news do so with a hidden agenda.

Especially, when it comes to politics.

Writes Paul Bedard in The Washington Examiner:

With polls showing that America is more politically divided than ever, a new study of the polarization has identified who is to blame and it’s not Donald Trump or Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It’s the media.

“We find that depictions of a divided populace transmitted through the mass media can increase perceived polarizatio,” says a new study by Matthew Levendusky of the University of Pennsyvana and Neil Malhotra of Stanford.

Levendusky and Malhortra reported their findings in the journal Political Communication.

The past decade has witnessed an explosion of interest in the partisan polarization of the American electorate. Scholarly investigation of this topic has coincided with the media’s portrayal of a polity deeply divided along partisan lines. Yet little research so far has considered the consequences of the media’s coverage of political polarization. We show that media coverage of polarization increases citizens’ beliefs that the electorate is polarized. Furthermore, the media’s depiction of a polarized electorate causes voters to moderate their own issue positions but increases their dislike of the opposing party. These empirical patterns are consistent with our theoretical argument that polarized exemplars in journalistic coverage serve as anti-cues to media consumers. Our findings have important implications for understanding current and future trends in political polarization.

Well, damn.  Looks like I’m part of a conspiracy because I report on and publish opinions about political actions.

“At the same time, it increases affective polarization, thereby increasing the potential for partisan discord,” the professors wrote, adding that it also “heightens negative affect toward the other party.”

Double damn.  Forget about assigning any blame to Democrats or Republicans, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or a gridlocked and partisan Congress.

Roll Call, the newspaper that covers Capitol Hill said “maybe it really is the media’s fault,” in a column by Stuart Rothinberg.  “For Donald Trump, the media has been a wiling accomplice.”

Ah, the irony.  A media outlet is saying its all the media’s fault.

Voter/Consumer Research, a firm run by veteran Republican pollster Jan van Lohuizen,  and Luke Thompson of Ad Astra Insights. say the media covered Trump way more than any other candidate during the Republican primaries and, in effect, gave the primary win to him.  Trump received three times more coverage than Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

“Trump was getting 50 percent of the exposure when there were more than a dozen candidates — and it has increased since,” their report said.

CBS President and CEO Les Moonves said the shenanigans of the 2016 Presidential race “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.  Sorry, it’s a terrible thing to say.  But, bring it on Donald.  Keep it going.”

In Trump’s case, what the media can give can also be taken away.  Coverage of Trump during the primary season was mostly positive.  It wasn’t until the last primary that the media began looking closer of what Trump is up to and what he is really like.

Trump, of course, says his tanking poll numbers are the fault of the “disgusting media.”

Others say the fault lies with Trump himself.

Damn, damn, damn.

 

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