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America’s Two Reality System

For most of its history America has had a two party political system.  It now appears we also have a two realities system, illustrated by our perceptions and trust of Fox News versus other major media. From PPP survey on TV media trust:

Democrats trust everything- except Fox News. NBC does the best with them at +50 (67/17), followed by PBS and CNN at +49 (66/17 and 65/16 respectively), ABC at +38 (57/19), CBS at +35 (58/23), MSNBC at +33 (56/23), and even Comedy Central at +4 (36/32). Fox News comes in at -36 (25/61).

Republicans meanwhile don’t trust anything except Fox News. PBS comes the closest to breaking even among non-Fox outlets, although not very close, at -30 (26/56).  It’s followed by CNN at -49 (18/67), MSNBC at -51 (18/69), NBC at -52 (17/69), CBS at -54 (17/71), ABC at -56 (14/70), and Comedy Central at -59 (12/71). But Fox News comes in at a stellar 73/17.

Independents are with the Democrats. They trust everything except Fox News.

For good or ill there was a long period of time when there were only a few television networks that shared a more or less common viewpoint. Most everyone shared in the same set of “facts” presented by a limited number of major news sources. Much of the country shared this view of reality, even though the two parties had different ideas of how best to deal with the nation’s problems.

It now appears we are getting a two reality system on top of our two party political system. Each partisan group has it own set of facts, its own truth, and its own set of news sources for describing and interpreting its respective views of facts and truth.  The two parties don’t just disagree on how to fix a problem; they often no longer agree even on what the problems are.

Suffice it to say, it seems a pipe dream to expect a bipartisan compromise on some bold plan of action to address the nation’s problems. That’s inherently impossible if you can’t even first agree on what reality is.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at