Journalists pick apart partisanship at Lisner Auditorium

PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown, left, and NPR’s Scott Simon, right, pinned the nation’s political polarization partly on a frantic media environment Thursday at Lisner Auditorium. Carly Lisnow | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Grace Aucella.

Two newsmen, who spoke on campus Thursday, boiled down the country’s political divide an unlikely cause: There is too much news.

PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown and NPR’s Scott Simon said that a growing and diversifying media climate has partly caused the party polarization.

“In the news industry, we make it harder because we drive people to those kinds of conclusions,” Simon said before a crowd at Lisner Auditorium. “Are we always looking to create some kind of rift, rather than something that joins us together?”

Simon, host of Weekend Edition Saturday, said when people watch the news that aligns with their ideologies – flipping on channels like Fox News or MSNBC – it “discourages fresh thinking.”

The 2012 presidential election has featured plenty of proof for the journalists’ claims – ranging from the out-of-context snipping of President Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” remark to a false ad pinning a woman’s death on Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital firm.

The journalists proposed a simple solution for the country’s political divide: read more.

Simon urged the audience to read more fiction because it “causes an act of imagination to take place inside of you. It causes you to identify with people that are different from yourselves. It invites you to have other lives and other skins,” he said.

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