Congratulations to all of Ms. Johnstone’s readers that get this.
Before the Internet existed, fringe groups had to conduct extensive outreach to disaffected people so that they could build a base. It wasn’t terribly effective. Most people didn’t bother reading a free pamphlet or newspaper. And it took a lot of those to get just one new member.
Today, the Internet makes finding such groups as easy as speaking to a search engine. As a result the echo chambers have grown dramatically.
One of the most interesting montages I can recall from Rush Limbaugh (yes, leftist friends, even a right wing blowhard sometimes has a useful observation from time to time). It was when Al Gore was running for President. He picked up on what was then an obscure word, “Gravitas,” that practically overnight showed up everywhere on all the news services. In every case it was used to describe their impression of Gore’s campaign. There are many synonyms, not to mention other adjectives, that could have been used in this context, and yet that one word stuck out like a sore thumb.
It would be misleading to say that this is evidence of collusion, but the media are certainly watching each other very closely. And that’s how echo chambers get started.
This media echo chamber is then fed in to numerous other political groupie sites ranging from the Daily Kos and FireDogLake to Pajamas Media and Townhall. These in turn amplify their agenda through selective viewing of the news.
And that’s how political views get Balkanized.
Please do yourselves and our society a favor: Read something you know you will disagree with. Read about aspects of what others think of your world. Try to understand where the other sides of an issue are coming from. You may be surprised that your views are in line with many others, though you may disagree about methods or reasoning. If you can find common ground, it is all for the better.
For example, when Trump was elected, many leftists began to wonder if it might be time to purchase arms, “just in case.” Bill Whittle, who regularly voices right wing views on YouTube, had the following to say when he discovered this tidbit: “Welcome to the club!” He followed up with the observation that this is precisely why the second amendment exists: to ensure that tyranny of ANY sort does not have a chance to get a foothold.
If we could just get people to ignore the 24 hour infotainment babble we may find that although we think differently, we actually seek the same things. This is what we should expect from our politicians, not the frequent “appeals to the base” for “political purposes.”