Kristi Strother, Journalism Chair at Community College of Denver joins us today to discuss New Media and some phenomena that is especially concerning in today's digital age, and particularly during an election year. Selective Exposure and the Spiral of Silence have been identified for a number of years, but today's culture emphasizes how dangerous these trends can be.
Selective Exposure describes the circumstances in which a media consumer will seek out only the news sources and stories that reinforce what what they already believe. In a time when we have access to more, and more varied information than ever before, this is a limitation on the type of information are willing to hear or read, which leads to un-informed media consumers, and worse, uninformed voters.
Spiral of Silence indicates the the tendency of people to shy away from expressing their own opinion when surrounded by others who disagree. This is particularly concerning in the midst of social media, where one is afraid their differing opinion may be attacked or ridiculed. This leads to an artificial sense of consensus among those whose positions aren't challenged, believing they must be right because no one seems to disagree with them.