13 October 2016

Media and the Angry Voter

Fox was founded in October 1996. In the six presidential elections before that, the GOP won by an average of 5.6 points. (4 victories, two by double-digits.) In the six presidential elections since (counting this one, including the latest poll numbers at fivethirtyeight), they've lost by an average of 4 points. Even though George W. was elected twice, he won the popular vote only once, and that by 2.4 points. No other Republican has won since Fox began to broadcast.

I don't know if Fox style news is caused by their impotency at the polls or is causing it. In any case, it's hard to believe that it's helped. It has done wonders for Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes' net worth but it's not obvious that it's done much for the Republican Party.


In any case, Fox is a specific instance of a wider trend. Media has become increasingly sophisticated at driving up ratings. It does this by finding the most alarming news or possibilities available from among all the things happening on 7 continents, in 200 countries, among 7 billion people. With that much to select from, there's always something. Always.

Then the media puzzles over why voters are increasingly frightened and angry.


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