Calderon: Thoughts on America's sharp divide

Posted 11/3/20

My thoughts about the country's sharp divisions is that we've gone from political discourse to "identity politics," fueled principally by the demise of local newspapers and reporting.  How, you …

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Calderon: Thoughts on America's sharp divide

Posted

My thoughts about the country's sharp divisions is that we've gone from political discourse to "identity politics," fueled principally by the demise of local newspapers and reporting.  How, you say? 

Prior to the smart phone, people got their news from the major media, i.e. TV news, with serious well funded news departments, newspapers, news magazines and so forth.

There were well resourced local newspapers that reported local issues and problems, which people focused on and discussed, frequently translating these concerns into local politics and discussions. "Getting involved" meant that people had the opportunity to influence one's home quality of life.

Then came the computer and smartphone, digital advertising, and the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Kpop, etc., while at the same time local newspapers lost readers, advertisers, and the resources to actively report local news and keep folks actively engaged in local issues. 

The news became nationally sourced, first born in New York, then endlessly repeated throughout the country, picked up by newspapers starved for cheaper content.  National TV shortened the "news cycle" to 4 hours, and gave up even a modicum of impartiality. 

News was now "infotainment," pushed in snippets to portable electronics, from organizations clearly biased on the right or left of the political spectrum.  It translated into woke opinion, less reasoned or polite discussions, and the emergence of "identity politics."  This meant intolerance, the drowning out of differing points of view, and insults and hate across the political and policy divide. 

People had been co-opted, from knowing what was important around them, to yelling and stressing about national issues and behaviors they felt (and mostly were) powerless to affect, but driven to opine about. 

A whole generation of millenials, gen X and Zers entered semi-adulthood without the experience of their parents with local and national more thoughtfully reported news that was not breathlessly immediate, pushed as an existential threat or sure to define one's self worth.

At this juncture, I don't know what new current of influence would cause healthy change, given the sad state of current affairs.

Editor's note: Mr. Calderon is a Scottsdale resident.

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