That’s not to say partisan news has no effect. Arceneaux and Martin just believe that the effect appears to be much smaller than others have hypothesized. People aren’t sponges that unquestioningly absorb everything they hear. They have their own ideas and the ability to choose what they listen to.
“From our perspective,” they write, “the reason to be ill at ease with the state of partisan news is not because it polarizes or even because it misleads. Rather, the reason to be concerned with these shows revolves around the content itself.” That is, the shows have tremendous opportunities to help the public become more informed, but their effort is largely expended on decidedly different pursuits.
Image source and full article: http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/10/are-partisan-news-sources-polarizing-americans/
Seriously, CNN, WTF?
“It’s perfectly understandable, when reporting on a rape trial, to discuss the length and severity of the sentence; it is less understandable to discuss the end of two convicted rapists’ future athletic and academic careers as if it were somehow divorced from the laws of cause and effect. Their dreams and hopes were not crushed by an impersonal, inexorable legal system; Mays and Richmond raped a girl and have been sentenced accordingly. Had they not raped her, they would not be spending at least one year each in a juvenile detention facility.”
“So, essentially what we have is a country in which people on the left and the right each have their own media institutions from which they get their own versions of reality. How, exactly, we’re supposed to combat polarization as long as that’s the case I haven’t the slightest clue.”