Scarry’s law

Scarry’s Law, formulated over a decade ago by this newspaper and named after Richard Scarry, a children’s illustrator, states that politicians mess at their peril with groups that feature in children’s books—farmers, fishermen, train drivers and suchlike.

—The Economist in ‘Britain’s regulatory-divergence dilemma

Helps explain why some reforms are so hard.

Fiscally conservative, socially liberal, politically deceased

New Labour - Lib Dems
Fiscally conservative, socially liberal, politically deceased

Fiscally conservative, socially liberal – the political space where new Labour resided, and where Lib Dems should be.

In my opinion, it’s the best choice for a prosperous, yet fair society. Yet, the hardest option to sell. Specially to an ageing population, in a hyperbole-driven, politicised media landscape.

The opposite – social conservatism (Tories & UKIP), and fiscal liberalism (old Labour) are both much easier to sell.

We’ve managed to elect a government that the media, both on the right and the left, have found wanting.

What would it take to get elected a government that the media, both on the left and right of centre, find able.

TV news filter bubble

US News Channels Prime Time Viewership

Quick thought from this chart in The Economist:

CNN was the flag bearer for middle-ground, relatively neutral news gathering in the US, and increased polarisation in US politics after Obama’s election seems to have hurt it the most.

The chart seems to indicate that CNN lost viewers to Fox News in 2008-09. This seems to line up well with the post-Obama election backlash from conservative right, and rise of the Palinistas-Ryanistas / Tea Party movement championed by Limbaugh and supported+tapped by Ailes.

2009-10 saw CNN losing market-share again, while MSNBC held steady – must have been about the time when MSNBC started tilting its programming towards the Democratic left1.

Net result: In 2 years, CNN lost half its prime-time news audience, as viewers on the right and left moved to news networks that echoed their own political views.

While researchers worried about effects of filter bubbles on the internet, the offline news consumption in living rooms was being filtered just as fast.

Read the full article on CNN’s recent transformation here.
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