What a terrible year politically. America is better than this. We are an amazing, inclusive, ennobling society. Our principles espouse equality and freedom. We should agree that improving things for all is the best way to improve things for ourselves.
Yet we don’t.
Hate sells. Racism, bigotry and misogyny, Donald Trump has proved, can energize a national campaign. Mr. Trump has shown it is feasible to recruit the alt-right, conspiracy theorists, white supremacists and anti-Semites as ferocious allies without alienating reliable Republican voters.
The profit driven part of the media, the non journalists, bear a heavy burden and the lion share of the blame.
The media enable extreme candidates and the parties are too fragile to stop them. Social media sites and TV news transmitted every political spitball and insult spewed over the past 18 months. But they had little capacity to establish widely shared truths or foster constructive debate about issues like climate change or criminal justice. In democratizing the media, Twitter and Facebook have also made it possible for Americans to encounter only the messages they want to hear. Desperate for ratings, Fox News, CNN and other networks handed Mr. Trump an open mike early in the contest. And having fanned the flames of extreme partisanship for years, Republican leaders were powerless in the primaries to stop Mr. Trump’s rise, and then were afraid to alienate his supporters by opposing him in the general election. Mr. Trump used his media savvy and entertainment value — often in the form of insults — to keep all eyes on him. Imagine how much further a more disciplined demagogue might go applying a similar formula.
What 2016 Has Taught Us http://nyti.ms/2ehkwMv