Friday, November 5, 2010

Why is the electorate divided?

We just completed the 2010 Election Cycle and one of the questions I have pondered for the last couple of years was what divided the electorate? There are countless answers to that question but one of the biggest reasons might be how the media became innovative in providing political news to the American people.  About 40 years ago, Americans only received it from the Big Three Networks (NBC, ABC, and CBS) along with their local newspapers.  That changed as the Internet exploded with political blogs, online news websites, the emergence of cable news channels, and the popularity of talk radio. 

Over the course of the last ten years, the 5:30 network news and newspapers started to decline when it came to delivering political news to the American public. Beginning with the 2000 Election Cycle, saw the growth of countless political blogs published by both professionals and amateurs.  They both took the conservative or the liberal side when discussing political issues and allowed the average citizen to post their comments that often times sparked further debate.

Today, most of us receive political news through the Internet or the cable news channels of our choice.  If you are conservative, then you tune into Fox News. If you are liberal, you tune into MSNBC and in between then CNN would be your choice.  Instead of quick hits like the Big Three Networks of years past, these news outlets provide in-depth coverage along with their opinions on the current hot button political issues that draw large audiences on any given day. Finally, do not forget about AM radio. Originally, it started out with entertainment programs that replaced Vaudeville and then started to play music with news coming only at the top of the hour. When FM took over the music, AM replaced it with conservative talk radio that continues today.  It provides in-depth coverage of the hot button issues and allow audience members to have direct participation. 

As you can see, the media became more sophisticated over the years that spark the great electoral divide in our nation.  No longer do we see the media just giving the “who, what, where, when and why's” of the news but also their opinions as well.  The way Americans get their news depends solely on their political perspective.  Finally, the best way to become a well-balanced and informed citizen is to receive political news from various sources that contain different opinions and then you can form your own conclusions. 

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