Has the increase in readily available media been a good thing for American politics? Has the influx of information made it easier to find reliable information, or has it become more difficult?

Quick answer:

The modern increase in media sources is not necessarily a good thing for American politics since each source presents information and issues from a particular position and through the lens of particular presuppositions. Many people automatically gravitate toward sources that match their own views because it takes a great deal of time and effort to sort through and rationally analyze sources.

Expert Answers

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We are surrounded by information these days. Television and internet sources bombard us with supposed facts and plenty of opinions, and they are all presented from a particular point of view. This is nothing new, of course. All throughout history, media sources have presented information in ways that reflect their own slants on issues. In the past, though, no one was surrounded by the media as we are today. People read newspapers, certainly, and as time went by, they listened to radio reports and watched television news. But now we can't seem to escape the media.

Let's think about some of the questions. You will have to express your own opinions about these, of course, but we can reflect on some possibilities to get you started. The increase in media has led to an increase in conflicting reports and in conflicting presentations of political issues according to the presuppositions that lie behind the source (political slant or party, for instance). This can lead to significant confusion as people try to sort out fact from opinion and to dig down to the truth (if any) behind the attempts to sway people toward a particular point of view. American politics and the issues at the forefront of political discussions have thus suffered from a lack of clarity. Just because there is more information available does not mean that the information is organized, reliable, or easy to access.

Most people tend to gravitate toward media sources that reflect their own political and ideological positions. This has always been the case: in the past, people turned to newspapers that agreed with their own views. Others, however, read many different sources to find a balance of ideas. With the sheer amount of information overwhelming people these days, however, it is much more difficult to find reliable information since it takes a great deal of time to read and analyze the variety of sources, to compare them with each other, to identify their presuppositions, and to make a reasoned decision about truth and falsehood.

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