Political Game Playing Promotes Partisanship Through Polarization
By Danny Schechter
Author of The Crime Of Our Time
You can almost hear the growling in the background as the masters of attack politics go into action, virtually every hour on the hour, on Fox News.
Their dominant emotion is annoyance as expressed in sarcasm and scowling; contempt is the underlying attitude,
The other side is usually not just wrong but plain stupid, almost unbelievable in its softheaded naiveté, and distance from reality,
A "what do you expect" question invariably tops off the argument which always ends with the Fox host a winner and the democrat a loser on every level.
Standing on a podium driven by self-righteous certainty, the finger pointers view the people they talk about, and talk down to, as below the intelligence threshold of people even worth arguing with.
In this closed universe, hyping the extreme and outrageous seems to attract audiences as Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck have proven.
That leads to higher ratings and, the real goal, higher revenues.
Clearly the Foxoids feel it is their duty to play Paul Revere who warned Colonial America that "The British Are Coming. They warn their faithful against political deviations that might lead them astray.
What is hard to recognize or often realize is that that the topics chosen are calculated and behind a strategy of using emotionally tested wedge issues to politicize by polarizing.
Political scientist Alan Abramowitz argues that polarization is good for America in his new book "The Disappearing Center:"
"All the indicators we have show that polarization has actually contributed to increased engagement in politics, because people do perceive important differences and they think that there are big stakes in elections, he writes."