Media’s good at fanning flames – why do we love it?

We could choose to avoid media that hardens our distrust of others, but like a moth to a flame, we can’t seem to resist the heat. Much like the 1880s. (Image: “The Yellow Press,” by L. M. Glackens, portraying William Randolph Hearst as a jester distributing sensational stories)

Americans yet again sort ourselves by the media we read or the networks we watch. We mostly choose to reinforce or echo our own beliefs, rather than ponder alternative viewpoints.

Newspapers launched in the 1700s to promote one political perspective or party. Over the next two centuries, media moved toward the middle, pulling Americans closer. In the mid-1990s, media moved back towards the fringes. Social media inflames our differences.

“Yellow journalism” is often blamed for starting 1898’s Spanish-American War – incorrect, but it did exacerbate emotions. If we want to avoid warring with each other, we must return to the middle.

Chris Schroder, The 100 Companies