South Lakes Sentinel

Media outlets to blame for America’s increased political polarization

Photo of the American flag, courtesy of Leana Travis

Photo of the American flag, courtesy of Leana Travis

Leana Travis, Staff Writer

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Taking a look at the headlines each day, one name seems to pop up far more often than others: Donald Trump. For any American who keeps up with the news, it is no surprise that the president is at the center of most conversations these days. What many people do not consider is the reason behind the repetitive news coverage.
A study done by Vandon Gene at Ryerson University found, through the analysis of news being reported through the use of Twitter, that users search for keywords when seeking information. During the 2016 election, top hashtags included #Imwithher, #MAGA, and #Election2016. While Twitter is just one source of information, the concept applies to all other outlets as well. When browsing through stories online or even in the newspaper, people look for words and stories that interest them–this is self-explanatory. An aspect that people often forget, however, is who defines what is interesting. The media uses something called gatekeeping, which is when they affect what the public perceives to be important, to promote a certain message. For example, American media outlets may be particularly repetitively in covering events regarding the U.S president, and they may feature only one story on Palestinian persecution in Israel. This is why it is important to remember how information is relayed and where it comes from.
The excessive coverage of the president has lead to the nation’s obsession with his every move. According to a study done at Harvard University, Trump received 80% negative coverage within the first 100 days. The criticism has lead to increased party polarization and tension between parties. While some people say the media has started leaning towards the left, it has really only been leaning towards anger and spite. Politics has become less about how to address policies and more about who is in the wrong. Defaming Donald Trump will not solve anything. What this country needs more than any hatred or criticism is unity. Instead of appealing to one party or the other, the media should appeal to humanity and compassion. The only way anything will get done is if everyone is striving towards the goal of a better, more peaceful world.

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Media outlets to blame for America’s increased political polarization