This just in: More and more Americans are making media choices based on their political convictions.
Surprised? Who could be surprised by this news — in an important new Morning Consult poll — after a rising tide of acid in public life that has been getting worse year after year and decade after decade.
But here is the question I want to ask about this new poll, and the Axios report that pointed me to it: Is this trend linked to politics, alone?
Yes, Donald Trump and the whole “fake news” whipping post are important (#DUH). But if journalists dig into the roots of this growing divide at the heart of American public discourse they will hit disputes — many linked to religion and culture — that are much deeper than the shallow ink slick that is the Trump era.
Hold that thought.. Here is the top of the bite-sized, news you can use Axios report:
News media companies make up 12 of the 15 most polarizing brands in America today, according to a new Morning Consult poll provided to Axios media trends expert Sara Fischer.
— CNN and Fox News continue to be the most divisive news companies.
— Why it matters: The gap between how Republicans and Democrats view national media brands like CNN and Fox News continues to widen, according to the polling, which points to an increase in America's polarization.
Between the lines: The gap is being driven by substantial decreases in Republican approval of media brands other than Fox News.
— The difference between how the two parties viewed CNN grew from a 66-point gap last year to an 80-point gap this year, due to a 12-point drop in net favorability among Republicans, from -13% to -25%.
Hear me say this: It is completely accurate to stress Trump’s role in all of this and for pollsters to push hard with questions about political party identity.
But does anyone doubt that researchers would have seen the same split it they had asked questions about third-trimester abortion, trigger-based speech codes on university campuses, the First Amendment rights of wedding-cake artists, government funding for trans treatments in the U.S. military and dozens of other questions that, for millions of Americans, are directly linked to religious doctrines?