Mitt Romney is upset that legacy media is losing its iron grip over popular opinion. Because he thinks independent media is polarizing politics and gridlocking Washington:
“There was a time when we all got the news with the same facts, if you will,” he said. “We had three networks we watched for the evening news. Most of us got newspapers. Everybody in the middle class got a newspaper, so we got the same facts whether we agreed or not with them.”
Now, according to Romney, people “get their news on the web” and “they tend to read those things which they agree with.” He said people are “not seeing the other side” and “not even getting the same facts” while “we have commentators” on left-leaning and right-leaning cable news channels “who are hyperbolic in expressing their views on issues.”
. . .
“And I think that divisiveness is one of the things that has led to Washington having such a hard time getting things done,” he said.
Oh, yes. How I long for the good old days when establishment voices in the media spoke with one voice, hiding dissenting information from the public, expressing as fact only those carefully selected narratives that supported the agenda of their Washington handlers. That was certainly a grand time for compromisers, backroom dealers, ethical pragmatists, and liars.
I continue to puzzle over the regular refrain that Washington should be “getting things done.” I don’t want Washington getting anything done right now. Washington has already done too much. If the polarization of the media can gridlock Washington, all hail the polarization of the media.
That Romney, a so-called conservative, should be lamenting the passage of the golden days of compromise particularly galls me. One can only breathe a sigh of relief that he didn’t become President. Obama is far less willing to compromise than Romney seems to be, and look what he accomplished even with great resistance: the Affordable Care Act, a federal same-sex marriage ruling, and more scandals than one can shake the “-gate” suffix at.
No, thank you! I’m happy to see a variety of voices talking in media. I think political discourse has surely broken down in the US, but I don’t blame the variegation of media for that. Discourse has broken down precisely due to Washington’s centralization of decision-making. Think about it. I don’t really care if the whole nation disagrees with me about same-sex marriage if I don’t have to live with it in my neighborhood. As long as it doesn’t touch me, I can afford to talk sanely about it. But the problem is that when Washington makes a decision, it affects everyone. It’s all or nothing. So you can imagine each person is a whole lot less interested in hearing and being heard and a whole lot more interested in “getting things done.” So, Romney, you want to see a return to civil political discourse, negotiation, and an agreement on facts? Decentralize the civil government. But as long as all the eggs are in the rotten basket called Washington, everyone is going to be yelling as loud as they can for control.
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