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2020 election proves we are broken

The election isn’t decided yet but we can make a few conclusions.


Good news = voters are engaged.


Bad news = it’s for the wrong reasons.


We are incredibly polarized.


I covered this for CJR, writing, "we must learn to reflect a polarized nation."


CNN, like many other cable news networks, has still not found a way to account for the fact that we’re an incredibly polarized nation. And the big picture of its election coverage was that, as a result, it failed to represent what was happening.


There was huge turnout. The conventional wisdom was that they were turning out for Biden. Which they did. But they were also turning out for Trump. And perhaps we didn’t realize that in part because of the divisive tone that CNN insists on striking.


Trump supporters have been stigmatized to the point that it’s not surprising that they might not be honest with pollsters or journalists. And pollsters and journalists have no way to account for that.


The answer to that is not more balanced coverage in order to favor one party or the other. It’s fuller coverage, so that voters are better informed. And more than anything, the tone has to be tempered so we’re not living in parallel universes.


There’s a serious disconnect in this country and cable "news" across the board must accept responsibility at least for part of that. Many are surprised today but shouldn’t be. Everyone could and should have known how likely it was to be a very close election. Sadly, 2020 has been a repeat of 2016. The flawed coverage prior helped lead to results that shocked many voters and even some analysts. They did not know that Trump’s message resonated with so many.


Divisive content, driven mostly for profit, prevents the flow of civic dialogue. It will only get worse unless the systemic issues are addressed within the financial structure of the industry. The "news" is broken. Today is a reflection of that, but let's hope it's not beyond repair. Personally, I think it can and must be fixed.






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thomas.allen
24 nov 2020

You use the terminology "fix our democracy." I pledge allegiance to a "republic." The constitution calls us a republic. Instead of "fixing our democracy," we need to "restore the republic." Every state constitution guarantees a "republican" form of government. We treat the words "democracy" and "republic" as if they are interchangeable. They aren't. Just read the Federalist Papers and you will clearly see that our founders feared a democracy. In fact, the chaos we are seeing in our streets is a reflection of a democracy. They even chant, "this is what democracy looks like." Democracy is indeed chaos, and our media fan the flames by treating us a democracy. The electoral college is a republican idea. It al…

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rljohnson1
24 nov 2020

I understand your slant towards blaming the cable news networks. I agree completely. The Cabal of journalists and the Democratic Party and the big tech oligarchs are largely to blame. Honestly I haven't watched an "alphabet" channel since President Trump took office. If any of those talking heads told me the sun was shining outside I'd go out and check. If they wanted to tell me how to put change in a parking meter I'd get a second opinion. This viewpoint has trickled down to my local news programs as well. I don't trust them either. I think you are on to something here though. Polarization sells and gets the viewers. You used the word "intrigue" in your intervie…

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thomas.allen
06 nov 2020

We can read the divisive content simply by comparing and contrasting the two party platforms. The Democrats want free education, reparations, relaxed immigration laws, government subsidized abortion, and single payer health care option, among others. Democrats want to continue subsidizing so called "green jobs," much like they did with Solyndra under the Obama administration. What we heard from Biden was more taxing and spending. We heard nothing about restraint in the growth of spending. We heard about more expensive new initiatives and the only way to pay for them was more taxes. It was the same old Democrat party narrative. Promise the moon and soak the rich. It is the narrative that has led to recession in the past. Add…


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