News Media's Impact on Our Country's Divisions

Steve Adubato is joined by Matt Taibbi, Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone, to discuss his latest book “Hate Inc.,” on how the news media has caused deep divisions in our country and the 2020 presidential election.

12/19/2019 #2270






"We're pleased to be joined by Matt Taibbi, contributing editor, Rolling Stone, the author of Hate Inc.: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despise One Another. Thank you my friend. How's it going Steve? I'm doing alright. Do we despise each other? I think we do. Increasingly. That's kind of the premise of the book. More than ever? I think we do more than ever. I think some of that is due to real differences in politics, but a lot of it has to do with our media habits and the way the media business has evolved, and I think that's the problematic part that I'm trying to get at. Break that down for us. We were just talking before we got in the air about cable news. I told you, we had some folks from CNN, we had folks from MSNBC, Fox, et cetera. Go ahead. Well in... back in the day, when we had three networks, and really just one or two newspapers in each market, the news business was really about trying to get the whole audience. you know, CBS, ABC, NBC. They were trying to get everybody. But with fragmentation, with cable, with the internet, the new business model is to pick a demographic and dominate it. And what we're doing now with stations like Fox, and to a lesser extent, MSNBC, we're basically pre-selecting news that we know our audiences are gonna like. So we're feeding them something over and over and over again, and what we're getting is two segmented audiences who have two completely different versions of reality. And mostly what they're getting is bad news about the other group. So how does that make us, quote, "hate each other more"? Because if you're... if you turn into Republican media, what you're basically getting is a lot of stuff about Democrats and liberals and feminists and that sort of thing, and if you turn on, quote unquote, "liberal media", what you're getting is stuff about Trump and Republicans. And it's just the same content all day long. And it's fueling people's anxieties and fears about each other. Most of the time. It's an addictive process. The companies know that this will get people to tune in over and over again. And so they're just feeding them an endless stream of this kind of content. Addictive? It is. It's literally addictive. If you talk to people who are internet researchers, they'll tell you that even the act of pulling a phone out of your pocket is an addictive behavior. That's what people are on, their phones, and reading news content six, seven hours a day, and we're selling ads to it. That's how the business works. So the social media component of this outside of the cable networks, how does..."