Two Americas: How the Left and Right of the United States Ceased to Communicate

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Washington (AFP)

The entirely misconception that Democrats stole the presidency from Trump is likely to be a hot topic on “TRUTH Social,” a conservative platform he adds to America’s already hyper-polarized media ecosystem.

Wednesday’s announcement of the launch slated for early next year is notable as it reinforces speculation that Trump – who is banned from Twitter – is gearing up for another presidential run in 2024.

More deeply, it shows how the former reality TV star is able to capitalize on the deep divides in American society that are intensifying like never before through the echo chambers of social and mainstream media.

Where once Americans could agree on a shared set of facts, now two relentless tribes watch each other warily from their respective silos, each armed with their own version of reality served by their favorite media or smartphone app.

Investigative reporter Carl Bernstein, whose reporting on the Watergate affair alongside Bob Woodward helped to bring down Richard Nixon, called on the media and politicians to pay more attention to tackling the disinformation that divides the country.

“The division that separates and polarizes us in this country is vicious. It is deep,” he said. “It’s full of hate and anger. And most of that hate and anger is based on big lies.”

Watch conservative Fox News any night, and you could almost be convinced that it’s covering an entirely different country than the one covered by left-wing MSNBC, often with almost no overlap in the news agenda.

“Owning the Libraries”

Whether Americans are refining their opinions on Talk or Twitter, Trump is either the last bulwark against a stirred cultural wave presaging a socialist takeover – or the greatest threat to democracy since the Civil War.

The inhabitants of these two competing bubbles rarely come across information that could challenge their view of the world or show them what their opponents think. In other words, no one is talking to the other side anymore.

Carl Bernstein called on the media and politicians to pay more attention to the misinformation dividing America Alberto E. Rodriguez GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP / File

It was not just last year’s elections that received completely contradictory coverage from the right-wing and progressive media.

The report on the nationwide protests that followed the police murder of African American George Floyd offered the same dichotomy, with the left being fed images of noble protest for racial justice and the right saying the country was on the verge of a violent takeover by Communist thugs.

This bifurcation has reached the point where someone’s opinions on a range of burning issues – from abortion, LGBT rights and immigration to gun control and healthcare – can be reliably inferred. of their choice of cable news channel.

Division has been a hallmark of the Trump era. A record 81 million people voted for Joe Biden in 2020, but the 74 million who voted for Trump marked the second-highest figure ever released by a candidate.

On the right, figures like the son of former President Donald Trump Jr. prioritize “owning the libs” – sparking outrage and outrage among progressives – over serious debates about ideology.

Parallel Americas

And in the more militant corners of the left, every disagreement over race and sexuality is attributed to the supposed innate fanaticism of conservatives.

Fox News maintains a loyal following, but many Trumpists have scrambled since the election to more right-wing conspiratorial media such as Newsmax, One America News, and social media Talking and Gettr.

Newsmax’s prime-time programming draws up to a million viewers while former White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s schedule on AON is not far behind.

Media polarization is a symptom of wider cracks that have seen much of America’s wealth focus on liberal-leaning coasts, viewed by the more conservative so-called “flyover states” as elitist and out of touch.

Parler, which offers a hotbed for right-wingers launched on mainstream social media, was downloaded an estimated one million times in the five days following the election and its user count subsequently reached nearly nine million.

There, consumers are fed daily by a diet of “culture wars” regarding the removal of historic statues, athletes who kneel during the national anthem and the teaching of America’s racial history in the classrooms.

People who don’t use the platform likely won’t know what “Laptopgate” means, or won’t be familiar with the tale depicting Trump as fighting an epic battle against a horde of satanic pedophiles from Hollywood and the Democratic Party.

“When I surf the channels at night, I see two Americas that exist in parallel right now, on tracks side by side,” wrote Brian Stelter, CNN media analyst, after the election.

“Two Americas with completely different assumptions, expectations and sources of information.”

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