The Dangers of Monomedia Consumption
This article was written by DJ Crosby.
It goes without saying that Republicans generally stick with Republican media and Democrats stick with democratic media, and the political middle fight for unbiased news sources. If you tend to be more conservative, you will obtain your news from The Drudge Report, Fox News or the Blaze. If you are more liberal you will extract your news from the New Yorker, CNN, or the New York Times. With that being said a large percent of those who consume media stick to just one news outlet, even within their own spectrum of political ideology. And therein lies the issue: if our nation continuously binges out on one particular media, the divide we now see will grow larger and more robust. Monomedia consumption, defined as the intake of a single news source, is a growth on the back of mass media. There are numerous news outlets, both paper and electronic, that fight for your eyes and your trackpad. If you open your computer or phone and go straight to the New York Times, read a story, and think to yourself, “This is true, all other stories [about said topic] are false and are trying to advance an agenda,” check yourself. The truth is that these news outlets cater to the highest percentage of their base. If you lean left, the news source will publish left-leaning articles; the same goes for the right. It is sometimes a battle to communicate with someone that has the same view as yourself. This is partially due to the various news media on one side; CNN may have a different spin on a story than the New Yorker. It is even more tedious and demanding to have a logical conversation with someone who presents a 180-degree stance to yours. You are then forced to introspectively review your biases, your beliefs, and your stance and circle back to the conversation.
In order for you to gain a deeper understanding of your political ideology, you must extract media from opposing view points and actively engage with news sources that you would not normally read. When you read a story in the New York Times, jump over to the Drudge Report and read a similar story. Each presents truth relative to their reader’s perception. This in turn grants you the opportunity to dialogue with someone who you would not normally communicate with politically. It humanizes your political party’s opposition, or if you do not identify with a party, it humanizes the “other.” Associate Professor of Politics and Government Dr. Jon Peterson says that “the problem of consuming news from one point of view is not political ignorance but something closer to confirmation bias…the tools of digital media make it possible for us to select information that interests us and keeps everything else away.” He adds that “it gets harder and harder to talk to people who get their news from the other side, and rather than seeing each other as Americans with different points of view, we end up seeing each other as allies or enemies.”
Far too often we are quick to dismiss another person’s idea, as if our idea is more superior. A major key is to understand the concept of perception within media. You do not get to dictate another person’s perception, be it right or wrong in your eyes. You can facilitate effective political discourse by consuming more than one news media and getting more than one perspective on a story. Once you recommence the 360-degree concept of political perception, you will be able to communicate at different levels, at different depths, and at a much more effective pace.