Buying gas or groceries or attending back-to-school nights, I speak to people for whom the issues are a mixed bag; they are liberal on some, conservative on others, middle of the road on the rest. But politicians don’t take their cues from those people. No, politicians emulate the world of punditry.
Opinions from the middle are underrepresented, even shunned, in the modern debate.
Michael Smerconish, “On Cable TV and Talk Radio, a Push Toward Polarization,” The Washington Post (via POLITICO’s Playbook)
Written upon reflection of the departure of moderate CNN reporter Campbell Brown from her show. Smerconish also describes how bookers for CNN and FOX News tried to shoehorn him into a particular viewpoint or role, so they could plan a gladiatorial match instead of staging a debate. “There is no room for nuance” in these arenas, Smerconish continues:
Unfortunately, this approach is rewarded with ratings, because ratings are driven by passion, not universal appeal or general acceptance. While the most recent polling and voter registration data suggest that political power lies in the middle, it remains largely untapped because it lacks the fervor of the extremes. This also explains the lack of loyalty by centrists for media personalities such as Campbell Brown, unlike the devotion the far right and left have for their own torch-bearers. The more doctrinaire the viewpoint, the better the odds it will be heard.