We live in The Divided Era. One aspect of that is our division over the Media.
As I wrote in the Washington Times, in the run up to the presidential election a year ago, “Media bias has actually been the norm in America history.” Indeed, in my book The Divided Era, I noted that:
“For the first hundred years of our country, our press was rather overtly partisan. There were newspapers and pamphleteers that supported the Federalists and those that supported the Anti-Federalist cause. During the Civil War and Our Gilded Age of Division, there were “party” newspapers as well, newspapers that were tied to the parties and expected spoils if their favorite party was in power. While that is not the case today, what is important about that history is that the source of information for party members—that is, voters—was the parties themselves and their supportive newspapers. As such, they received a partisan view of the events of the day—a dynamic that undoubtedly reinforced partisan views and activities.
That same dynamic is gaining prevalence today. According to Pew Research, the viewers of Fox News tend to be more Republican than the electorate at large. By the same token, those that watch CNN and MSNBC tend to be more Democratic than the population at large. A Pew study revealed that “between 1998 and 2008, the share of Republicans saying they regularly watch Fox News rose 22 points, from 14% to 36%. Meanwhile, the share who regularly watch network evening news fell 15 points and the share who regularly watch CNN declined by eight points.” The data indicated a similar movement by Democrats toward CNN and MSNBC. Again, such a dynamic likely reinforces existing views of partisans, broadens the foundation of divisions in the Divided Era, and is reminiscent of our prior divided eras.”
So we should not be surprised when a Zogby poll released today finds that:
- Two-thirds of Democrats say they trust the media.
- 69 percent of Republicans don’t trust the networks and three newspapers.
Division over our media sources is a hallmark of politics division and certainly we are divided over the Media today.