Whether you go on the internet, turn on the television, or look for a magazine, you have plenty of options. When I say you have “plenty”, I mean the options are practically endless to the point that it turns into a difficult decision. These bountiful amounts of options have allowed people to customize and create their own collection of information. Whether it is setting a specific website for your homepage or searching through the channels on your DVR, we are prone to look at and use only what interests us. How does this bode for our political environment? If we simply watch the networks or read the articles that support our party’s politics, then how will anyone ever compromise? The many options that we have given us the anxiety of not knowing what to look at so we make ourselves comfortable and watch or listen to the same things. This is not a good trend for the future of politics in this country.
In Bree Nordenson’s article, “Overload!” she discusses how the proliferation of choices has fragmented the foundation of journalism. She explains that, “When people had fewer information and entertainment options, journalistic outlets were able to produce public-affairs content without having to worry excessively about audience share. As the Internet and the 24/7 new cycle splinter readership and attention spans, this is no longer the case.” With this explosion of information that is coming in front of us, the choices are too much for any one person to handle. The only logical solution is to watch the same things every day based on our own interests. This niche-based customization does not create a compromising environment for our political landscape. As Bree Nordenson writes, “This nichification…means that shared public knowledge is receding, as is the likelihood that we come in contact with beliefs that contradict our own. Personalized home pages, newsfeeds, and e-mail alerts, as well as special-interest publications lead us to create what sociologist Todd Gitlin disparagingly referred to as “my news, my world.”
This “my news, my world” sentiment is a trend that is bound to create negative results in our country. Compromise is already at an all-time low, as the current political environment is like an argument in a third grade class: the blame game. The only thing that ever comes out of Washington, D.C. is that it is President Obama’s, the House Republicans, or the Senate Democrats, fault. This finger pointing has spread throughout the country via this proliferation of news outlets. For example, Fox News watchers wage war against MSNBC viewers and vice versa. Since we are given so many options, it is far less likely that a liberal will sit down and watch Fox News just like a conservative to MSNBC.
This is an issue that is hurting political conversations from the living room all the way to the Capitol Building. How will anyone come to a compromise if we remain so headstrong towards our beliefs and so against opposing thoughts? The endless amount of information put in front of us has caused us to hold onto everything we like and avoid something different. We need to learn how to give and take again in our political environment. With politics, not everyone is going to be happy about everything that is accepted or rejected. If we start to listen and read what the other side of the isle says, maybe we can find a middle ground that satisfies the majority of the people. We must do more listening than arguing when it comes to politics. If you’re a liberal, listen to what a conservative has to say and if you’re a conservative, respect the opinions of a liberal. Only then can we achieve true compromise and progress in this country.