We get sliced and sliced into smaller and smaller groups, each with its own group of pundits, publications, and Facebook memes. And as advertising mixes with propaganda mixes with actual reporting we can’t tell the difference anymore. It’s a never-ending scorched earth campaign, made possible because harming trust and encouraging tribalism is economically rewarded. In other words, the economic incentives of news directly contribute to the divisiveness of our country.
The rise of naked partisanship, and increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste — all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we start accepting only information, whether it’s true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there.
Soon we stop trusting outlets that don’t talk to us the way we’d like, because we can point to a failing of their trustworthiness. Every news outlet is not equally trustworthy. But we no longer analyze what we read on a case-by-case basis. We see who is sharing news from which outlet and make the call.