There is more content available today about the upcoming election than likely in any previous cycle. While we could fill this page with media sources that have some type of information about the election, most people find their election information on social media (like Facebook and YouTube), cable news networks, major broadcast television networks, talk radio, major public broadcast networks, local television, national newspapers, local newspapers or news websites. While we have a proliferation of media options, we also have more disinformation than ever, and we know that both the Russian and Chinese governments have even had a part in using social media to generate election-oriented content.
Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t end with content meddling. While there is more content than ever, Americans are increasingly polarized about which media sources they trust and those they don’t. While it is obvious that Democrats lean toward MSNBC and Republicans lean toward Fox News for their cable news coverage, the polarization is made worse by thinking that analysis or commentary is the same as objective news. If you want to truly be informed, it is vitally important to recognize the difference between news and commentary. While those on the left may enjoy Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC, it would be more appropriate to consider it as commentary, and not really a news source. And while Rush Limbaugh’s ratings may be high among Republicans, his show is also more focused on commentary, and less about objective news reporting. Maddow and Limbaugh both have a large following, and many in their audience accept the analysis as news, which it isn’t.