The former House speaker goes off on a polarized media environment in which reality is optional.
…It seems safe to say that Boehner holds a bit of a grudge against conservative pundits who contributed to the end of his speakership.
But if his beef is personal, it also rings true, especially when he goes off on polarization in the press, more broadly. Here’s an excerpt from Alberta:
Boehner worries about the deepening fissures in American society. But he sees Trump as more of a symptom than the cause of what is a longer arc of social and ideological alienation, fueled by talk radio and Fox News on the right and MSNBC and social media on the left.
“People thought in ’09, ’10, ’11, that the country couldn’t be divided more. And you go back to Obama’s campaign in 2008, you know, he was talking about the divide and healing the country and all of that. And some would argue on the right that he did more to divide the country than to unite it. I kind of reject that notion.”
Why is that? “Because it wasn’t him!” Boehner replies. “It was modern-day media, and social media, that kept pushing people further right and further left. People started to figure out … they could choose where to get their news. And so what do people do? They choose places they agree with, reinforcing the divide.”
To Boehner’s point, it is possible to live in a news bubble in which Trump is perpetually on the verge of impeachment or one in which the president is the target of a witch hunt. Neither is an accurate depiction of reality, but reality is now optional.