Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday evening blamed a shifting media environment for sharpening partisan divides, saying that Fox News viewers and New York Times readers live in “entirely different” realities.
“Whether it was (Walter) Cronkite or (David) Brinkley or what have you, there was a common set of facts, a baseline around which both parties had to adapt and respond to,” Obama said at Rice University.
“And by the time I take office, what you increasingly have is a media environment in which if you are a Fox News viewer, you have an entirely different reality than if you are a New York Times reader,” he continued.
Obama said that because of this, “the basis of each respective party have become more ideological.”
The former President has previously denounced media tribalism. In 2010, Obama spoke at the University of Michigan commencement ceremony and encouraged the crowd to try broadening their news intake.
“If you’re somebody who only reads the editorial page of The New York Times, try glancing at the page of The Wall Street Journal once in a while. If you’re a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on The Huffington Post website. It may make your blood boil, your mind may not be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship. It is essential for our democracy,” he said.