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Social Media News

Stuart Carlson
© Stuart Carlson

I am becoming more and more convinced that micro-targeting of news (through AM talk radio, the internet, and especially social media) is largely to blame for the divorce of politics from reality (and consequently the election of Donald Trump). It also explains why Democrats were convinced that Hillary Clinton was about to be elected.

Unfortunately, I am at a total loss about what to do about this. Although I am still hopeful that like any media transition, people will eventually learn how to deal with new media and start acting rational again.

But then again, I might just be delusional, and we are totally screwed for a long time.



  1. David Freeman wrote:

    I was hoping you’d have a solution.
    Best I’ve come up with is to start a secret society which promises to, once time travel is invented, send a note back to Democrats in 1970 saying, “put your money and effort into school board elections to guarantee an educated electorate for the future”. Short of that, best I have is: put more money and effort into school boards so we can eventually have an educated electorate to read the sad history of the demise of Democracy in the USA.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 12:39 am | Permalink
  2. Jonah wrote:

    I’m not sure everyone was convinced Hillary was going to win especially during the last week of the election. Those who studied Nate Silvers would have been warned about the eventual outcome ie HRC losing the electoral college and winning the popular vote.

    If I understood the problem correctly, I would say that one way to address it would be subscribe to real media sources ie media orgs that do actual reporting. WSJ perhaps even the NYtimes etc. Maybe gift your grandparents a subscription since it appears they relied more on facebook.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 8:09 am | Permalink
  3. Jonah wrote:

    Current vote count status for those who think their vote doesn’t count or if its ok to vote 3rd party

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink
  4. Wildwood wrote:

    Jonah, being a card carrying member of the Grandparents Society, I take issue with your comments about grandparents. We are not the fault. Look elsewhere.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink
  5. Jonah wrote:

    Wildwood, even on an anonymous message board my intention wasn’t to insult older people. My apologies. That said based on exit polls and prior analysis, the majority of older people( > 50) clearly preferred Trump

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  6. Wildwoods wrote:

    I’m wondering if we can trust exit polls as much as we trusted election polls. That said, most older people vote Republican anyway. At least the ones I know. I’m pretty much a minority where I live.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    The solution:

    Before being eligible to vote, everyone must graduate an accredited college. Then he must prove he has researched the source of every news article posted to his Facebook page. Finally, he must submit a 5-page analysis of each candidate in the election, citing the candidate’s position on 7 issues selected at random.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 10:14 pm | Permalink
  8. Ralph wrote:

    We struggle to find a solution to this problem, if there really is one, and repeatedly come up short. On the one hand, we are experiencing technological progress at an unprecedented, nearly exponential rate, including the internet with all its wonders and warts. On the other hand, we live in a society that seems more and more at odds with this accelerating change, unsure and insecure about how to cope and prosper within an increasingly hi tech world, while apparently less equipped generally to parse fact from fiction. Ironically, the global democratization of information the internet has provided has also created a digital Tower of Babel of biblical proportions. Not only are we often speaking past each other, it seems sometimes we’re not even on the same planet. Obviously, the static of fake news only complicates the picture.

    Trump, as a seasoned reality show veteran, has masterfully exploited this source of confusion, using the internet as both weapon (Twitter) and shield (“Hey, all I know is I saw it on the internet”). Politically, progressives are left shaking their heads about Republicans being duped again and again into voting against their own self interest, while conservatives wonder how “libtards” can be so naive as to think putting government bureaucrats in charge of their lives is “freedom”. The extremes end up driving the narrative.

    So, without a national educational system commensurate with our scientific and technological prowess that develops the critical thinking skills needed to make informed decisions about how we want the country to be lead, skills in which we are obviously sorely lacking, it’s only going to get worse. That nearly half or even more of the population may think some of our major scientific discoveries and advances (evolution, climate change, vaccines) are liberal or atheist conspiracies or hoaxes is symptomatic of a very big problem in our society.

    As the late great Carl Sagan put it many years ago: “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

    Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink
  9. ebdoug wrote:

    The whole voting process is designed to give the rural voters a protection. They vote Republican because they were brought up that way. I was raised Republican and voted for Baby Bush in 2000 because I really liked his father and the handling of the Gulf War. Big, big mistake as I was uneducated at the time. Luckily I’m in a blue state where my vote was ignored. March 2003, I started educating myself, reading and reading and reading, book after book after book. Not taking anything I read for Gospel truth until I cross read, researched, etc. The rural go to the poles and just exercise their right to vote without paying any attention to who is running.

    Imagine a Conservative Christian voting for Trump who’s Grandfather only lived here because Germany wouldn’t let the scam artist, owner of brothels in the west back into Germany. Whose Mother was an illegal immigrant and stayed. Whose wife came to this country illegally and stayed. Voters, especially Conservative voters don’t vote for Atheists. Trump got dragged to church by Pence this last Sunday. No Christian seems to care that Trump has only one God whose name is Donald Trump. His only aim in this election was to win. Just like Hitler, he told everyone what he wanted to do. “I just want to win.” Helping the American People had nothing to do with his hateful, lying campaign. Just him. Only him. He will do everything he can to cover up all his injustices in the next four years. We won’t hear anything.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink