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letters | as media options grow, partisan divide widens

Unchained, at last, from mainstream media’s lock on opinion

One of the things that makes America great is the right of its people to practice and enjoy the freedom to express their opinions openly. The headline “With more outlets, a more strident divide” (Page A1, Oct. 6) gave me some pause, as did the headline on the inside page, “Media vitriol helps poison D.C. politics.”

The article, which began by decrying cable networks, cites what I thought was a cogent comment from Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. The reporter writes, “While Thompson said it is good there are more media choices, what has been lost ‘is this sense we all share a certain bit of cultural glue.’ ”

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What has been, if not lost, at least diminished is the mainstream media’s long-enjoyed, Pravda-like control of the national discussion on just about any subject.

For decades we watched the daily TV news on the three major networks, and heard the latest party-line view on all things important. Cable has brought us the marvelous idea that there are other opinions and other ways of considering things. Not all these other ideas are new — many have been around since the founding of America. What is new is that those ideas have found their public voice, in the form of cable news, Internet news, and blogs, and, yes, it is disturbing the quiet pond of complacency.

As Americans we should stand proud that all ideas, agreeable to us or not, are given public voice. In an America where diversity is all, why are many now decrying diversity of opinion?

Robert Powers


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