The debate over polarized media can make the two ecosystems sound equivalent. One is left, the other right, but otherwise they’re the same. That couldn’t be more wrong. They’re structured differently, they work differently, they value different things, they’re built atop different aesthetics. And behind all these differences is something we don’t talk about enough: their audiences, and what those audiences demand.
Danna Young is an associate professor of communications at the University of Delaware and author of the forthcoming Irony and Outrage, a fascinating study of the differing aesthetics of the left and right media universes, and how those differences are rooted in the psychological composition of their audiences. This is tricky stuff to talk about, but it’s necessary for understanding why political media looks the way it does today.
Constructing the Political Spectacle by Murray Edelman
The Outrage Industry: Political Opinion Media and the New Incivility by Jeffrey M. Berry and Sarah Sobieraj
Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics by Nicole Hemmer
Irony and Outrage: The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear, and Laughter in the United States by Danna Young (pre-order)
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