The hyper-politicization youâ€™re seeing is part of your increasing maturity as regards media. The fact is that American media has always been a highly tumultuous and terribly biased organ of information dissemination. Unfortunately most people never realize that simple fact. The media by design is supposed to be biased, and a beating heart for the political process. Prior to the escapades of radical journalistic consolidation newspapers would war against each other with political diatribes within small towns. People would define their political views based on the news papers they took or whether they took the morning or afternoon paper.
The horror is now that punditry and massive media consolidation has escaped from the bounds of reality and the mass media outlets expand into the smaller markets it is hard to get good information biased or not. In history you always try to get as close to primary source material, and in information warfare operations you attempt to do the same. There is a concept born of the television age and believed by the first generation of television watchers that anything you see on television is factual and true. Yet the follow on generation was raised in front of the boob tube and tuned out the siren music of Madison Avenue and political hacks to be grabbed by the illogic of the Internet. It must be true I read it on the Internet! The spectacular failures in logic by an entire generation canâ€™t be explained by one simple theory though. The following generation vilified by the previous generations as slacker slobbering idiots are likely the most media aware generation and what do they create with that knowledge? My Spaceâ€¦
As people mature into the realm of media understanding they go through some spectacular changes. When I was getting my first bachelors degree (BA Communications), a professor likened media maturation as the specific stages of grief. Those who realize that all media is biased begin to wonder how this happened. Most people have no clue about media and the power over the political process. Never mind the depression over seeing the manipulation and fabulous logical fallacies of the straw man, inappropriate choices, or ad hominem attacks. Most people feel anger as they watch hacks while away their time at inconsequential points while ignoring real issues. Utilizing points of specificity to make grand generalizations (Hi Rush Limbaugh!) is a common place tool in the efforts to manipulate the population.
Add into this some ideas posited by Fredrick Jackson Turner and manifest destiny and you have a political, media, mess of grand proportions. FJT talked about how the West defined by manifest destiny (my words not his) the way of the United States and how it perceived itself. Few scholars really study FJT because what he suggests is that politics may be determined by where you live and how you live more than ideology. It is interesting to note that urbanization and rural environments of the United States create a distinct political influence that affects this media homogenization effect. The radicalized urban centers denigrate and marginalize the less populated rural environs. The rural areas of the United States are more libertarian or moderate than the polarized urbanized centers. It is mildly interesting to note that rural areas have much less mass media effect in the political process.
The nature of mass media communications and the relevant political upheaval are not used exclusively by any political ideology or party affiliation. The tools of manipulation and subsequent subjugation of an intelligent population are time worn and scathing sharp. Yet they are stumbling.
A media revolution is currently occurring. If we were talking about science Thomas Kuhn would say there is a paradigm shift occurring. A paradigm shift often misused as a buzz word of impending change is more about how things will be seen in the future. The inconsistent ideas coalesce into a simplified understanding of ideas and concepts creating a new paradigm. The hyper politicization some perceive is actually a return the uncontrolled heterogeneous mass participation in media. In this case it is not a shift of ideology but access to content creation creating a shift in the basic ideas of media.
The blog, web forum, social networking tools, and more have existed in many forms for about 40 years. The mass adoption by the population in general of these tools is relatively recent. New tools are being spawned at a fascinating rate. The podcast is 21 months old, and IPTV is only about 48 months old. I can see where SWJ has a podcast as part of its dissemination tools in months if not sooner. Most information warfare types are still peering at natural language text based processing tools for indexing and categorizing adversarial content. While the tools of dissemination have moved from text to vivid sound and video with the associated risks of discovery and increased content communication channels.
So whereas many might see this hyper-politicization process as a negative in many ways it is increasing the access to ideas. The behaviors negative and positive including the near fascist and far leftist opinions of ideology show that homogenized content is a thing of the past. The task is to not fall into that trap and provide for open dialog and use the same tools to communicate as much literal truth (as you see it) possible. Then with credibility your ideas will inoculate the population against malfeasance and manipulation.