Writer W. Barksdale Maynard ’88, in his piece “Feeling partisan? Don’t fault Fox News” (Campus Notebook, July 10), provided some interesting insights into the mindset of contemporary academia. Maynard tells us that associate professor Markus Prior believes that the country has become more polarized politically not because partisan media like Fox News have gained viewers, but because established network-news channels have fewer than in the past. We are left to infer (as are, presumably, his students) that those network outlets are nonpartisan, fair, and balanced in their news coverage — that despite a mountain of evidence showing that those who work for network-news channels are, by far, more likely to be left-leaning or Democrat than Republican. With fewer voters relying on what he seems to see as nonpartisan, established sources, Professor Prior believes, voter turnout becomes highly polarized.
I wonder if he would concede that polarization might somehow be related to a president who is determined to “fundamentally transform America,” while many Americans treasure their country’s founding principles and are equally determined to defend them against radical transformation. I also wonder if, in Professor Prior’s opinion, faculties in higher education also are fair and balanced in their political leanings.