15th Nov2011

Polarization on the Internet versus Television

by sam

After reading Republic.com 2.0: Polarization and cybercascades by Cass Sunstein I had mixed views on polarization.  He makes a lot of very interesting points on how many things we do today are polarized.  People choose which news stories they want to appear on their homepages and which network news programs they are going to watch because of their political views.  I personally use Google News and don’t really pay attention to the source when choosing to read one of the top stories.  I will also read more than one on the same topic just to make sure one story didn’t leave something out that may have been important.  But I am inclined to reorder the way the categories are listed.  I leave World and US news at the top but then put Technology, Entertainment, Sports, and then finally Health and Politics.  I blame part of the reason I am not interested in politics on being younger than everyone in my grade at school.  Whenever politics was brought up senior year of high school I would barely pay attention because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to vote in the next election like everyone else.  It made me angry so I never payed attention.  I know it’s childish and I certainly don’t think that way now but it has certainly had an effect on my view of politics.

Although I do not have a specific new source for the regular news, I do have a preference for entertainment news.  I always follow Perez Hilton’s website and tweets for the latest in pop culture news.  I will never intentionally go to the TMZ or E! News but I follow them on twitter just to make sure I don’t miss anything that Perez did not cover (which barely ever happens).  I feel more connected to Perez Hilton’s website because there is a face to connect with the source.  With TMZ and E! I do not know who the news is coming from and if it is true.  Perez also admits when he gets something wrong which I really like.  I am probably on his site once a day getting spoilers and updates on all of my favorite TV shows and actors.

Sunstein talks about a study where they found that Republicans chose Fox and Democrats were split between National Public Radio and CNN.  I found it interesting that Fox News is preferred by Republicans who are more conservative because other shows on that network are certainly not conservative.  It intrigues me that the news and other programing on the same network could be so different.  The show Glee celebrates gay couples and has teenage pregnancy which conflict with the views of many Republicans. Fox also shows the shows The Simpsons and Family Guy which are almost never politically correct.