During a Press Club event David Gregory, of NBC News, complained about the polarized nature of politics and how it affects them. When asked later by Hellen Thomas who he thought caused the polarization, he blamed it largely on the internet and the bloggers. While the soapbox nature of blogging does contribute to this problem, it was not the originator, and definitely not the only, and probably not the greatest contributor to the problem.
The polarization first started long before the internet became popular. Rush Limbaugh has not changed his format since he started up in 1988. Bill Clinton wasn't attacked time and again by bloggers. The Christian Right wasn't started by bloggers. George W. Bush is not, to my knowledge, a blogger. Fox News, Rupert Murdoch and the like were not, until recently, bloggers. Rove didn't use the internet originally. Michael Moore's primary medium isn't the internet.
What caused the polarized nature of politics today is the way the media classifies everything as a black or white issue where only one party can be right. It doesn't want to make its viewers think by explaining what each side is saying and what the truth is, it just wants to sell you a pack of Bud, a Happy Meal, and get you to watch the next show. When you are given only the back and forth and not any of the facts that the different sides are both manipulating, people are left to figure out what is true on their own. They will then side with whichever one they are already a part of, and since they are never given a real consensus on the facts, they can always shelter in their own world.
Blogs just allow this to continue. Many blogs, especially political blogs, are used, as I described above, as a soap box. The problem is that everyone has a soap box and few people get off long enough to look for whats really going on. They change from being a way to share your ideas to a way to reinforce your narrow view. I hope to go outside of that on this blog. I will attempt to research, and give you access to my research, my topics (when its not a pure opinion piece). I also ask that, if I am wrong, that you, my readers, show me where I went wrong and help me correct it.
So, David Gregory, you are not correct about where it started, you would have been right, though, to have said that the internet magnifies it.