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A Funeral for 'The Middle'

Fans of the middle have nothing to cheer for.

If you clicked the link because you thought I was about to talk about a television show now is your chance to hit the back button. 

I will not be held responsible if you keep reading. Nor can I be held responsible if you came here of your own free will.

Before we get on with the festivities let me define the middle.

It is a political term used to define people who are not declared Republican or Democrat. It used be defined as people who share ideology with both political parties. 

But alas we are a dying breed.

So what is killing us off?

Well first it started with 24 hour cable news. People no longer had to wait until 11 p.m. to find out what was going on. When people started watching these news broadcasts they suddenly got the impression that they were intelligent. People watched a three minute segment on a topic and they somehow felt informed. 

But that wasn’t good enough. Someone else saw these 24-hour news networks and decided the networks were brainwashing the public and the public needed a counter voice. And choice was good.  

Or was it?

With the advent of competing 24 hour news networks people made a choice. And they stuck with it which caused them to become further brainwashed. 

You see every news broadcast and every newsperson on television wants you to believe they are fair, even-handed, or balanced. The truth of the matter is there is no such thing as fair or even handed or balanced anymore. 

Want to know the first sign to look for to see if someone is brainwashed? Ask them if they watch Fox News or MSNBC. Then ask them if they watch the opposite. 99 times out of 100 you will not find an individual who watches opposing networks.  If you find that one person you were probably talking to me.

With the lack of competing points of view comes the next problem, the internet blog. Now I realize I am writing a blog so bare with me. With the coming of the blog anyone could have a say. But more importantly along with the blog came the blog comment. Now you had people who could expound on the blog infinitum.  Couple that with the herd mentality and any opposition to the point the blog is trying to make is quickly snuffed out. 

Don’t believe me? Take a trip to Huffingtonpost.com or HotAir.com and you won’t be disappointed. But truly, the main problem here is reliability. Now you could click a mouse and find someone who believed as you did and you believed everything they said. So if they said something that wasn’t true how were you to know? We had and still have Google but who has time for that?

The third strike for the middle comes in the form of social networking. Social network sites like Facebook sent polarization through the roof. I have been “unfriended” by people who I haven’t seen in years because of things I have posted on Facebook. 

Now actually we weren’t really friends so it didn’t trouble me much until one thought occurred to me. I may have been the lone dissenting voice in that person’s life and now they are isolated because they have chosen to surround themselves with people who think like they do. 

Next came Twitter

Twitter can be a useful tool for gathering information if used correctly. But again people generally only follow people they agree with.  And unlike Facebook where you may have dozens of people talk to, on Twitter someone may have thousands.  And those thousands have followers to so information and opinions move at the speed of light, whether it is correct or not.

Finally, the death nail for the middle came when politicians started paying attention and using any and all of these mediums. Politicians monitor opinions. They always have. But now they can shape them more easily. They can hammer you with Facebook posts. They can flood you with tweets. 

And more importantly they can get in front of a camera and spout what they think you want to hear.

So look at your “favorites” button on your cable remote. Does it have MSNBC and Fox News? Are you friends with both the current and former President on Facebook? Do you follow Barrack Obama and John Boehner on Twitter? 

If you want to know if you are part of the dying middle ask yourself this question, “Was Bush selected or elected?” There is no middle there is there? And that is how we frame our debates now. 

Are you Left or Right?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Le'ah Keturah-Sarah Krzywkowski April 09, 2012 at 06:07 PM
"The third strike for the middle comes in the form of social networking. Social network sites like Facebook sent polarization through the roof. I have been “unfriended” by people who I haven’t seen in years because of things I have posted on Facebook." for me Tim, facebook has been a horrible and at times self-destructive addiction. I don't get out of those house much because of current health issues and goingon six months separated from the outside world, the wired one begins to take on a life of it's own, and I am afforded a precious perspective on the potential dangers of social networking. It is true that one can never be sure as to the quality of the facts of the news they are given. I've had the extra time on my hands to read four different news sources aside from FOX News ( just for comparison's sake... And what else do I have to do?) I've read BBC ( europe) Al Jazeera ( middle east) , The Green Prophet( middle east), the Washington Post, NY Times, MSNBC. Ok...that's more than four...lol! It was interesting to read middle eastern reporting on American news. I was thinking I might see more of a bias sway to the reporting, but I actually found that along with non-favorable news, there were also stories that were pretty eye-opening and revealing, news that I found hard to get from an American source. So I know I'm at straying a bit from the facebook quote. I found that I had to shave off those people who were just downright nasty. ( will continue in #2)
Le'ah Keturah-Sarah Krzywkowski April 09, 2012 at 06:12 PM
#2 continued.... I found that I had to shave some people off my friends list who were downright nasty. There is a difference between a healthy and respectful debate and then outright calling someone names and expressing hurtful sentiments on purpose. My husband always cautions me to choose wisely who I talk to, what I read and respond to because I am a person who tends to get hurt over Internet squabbles and take the, way too personally. BUT I find the way we can communicate with each other to be valuable, giving people a means to communicate and share information when they couldn't otherwise. There is that fine line. So now, I only have close friends and family on facebook: all people that I do not get to see in person much. I also hope that skype will become another popular method of talking 'face to face' to share friendships and put a human face to all the ideas flying around. Good blog Tim, thought-provoking.
russell leisenheimer April 09, 2012 at 06:54 PM
according to gallup, here's how the two parties break down by ideology 72% of republicans say they are conservative, 23% say they are moderates, 4% say they are liberal. among democrats, 20% say they're conservative, while from 2007 through 2011, the party has consisted of almost equal percentages of moderates and liberals, with both parts in the 38% to 40% range. independents break down 41% moderate, 35% conservative and 20% liberal. in 2011 only 10% of the country described themselves as "very conservative," while even less, 6%, described themselves as "very liberal." there's still a middle out there, if you know where to look.
keith a dewey April 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Here is the scary part. For the most part the Democrats and the Moderates have a pretty much even distribution for their category. The Republicans are scewed way to the right. When conservatives are in charge the society is in for a violent correction or ends up in shambles, every time. Remember when the issues are settled it is the liberal that wins, then progress continues
Patrick Giusto May 02, 2012 at 12:06 AM
I know you probably don't agree with a lot of what I say in my blogs, Tim, but this was great. I think the loss of the middle goes further than the media, because I ultimately believe the buck should stop with a populace that should be (and is not) capable of critical thinking and responsibly searching multiple sources for facts, but you're pretty much dead on here.

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