When it comes to news, America is in a state of ‘pure polarization,’ physicist says

Americans are consuming more news than ever — and it’s driving us further and further apart.

– Rob Wile

That’s according to a new paper from Neil Johnson, a physicist who now runs the University of Miami’s Complexity interdisciplinary group, which is examining collective behavior in a number of fields.

Johnson and his team have found that when it comes to digesting news of any kind, Americans now exist in a state of pure polarization: the size of the extremes of the left and right are now so large that they outnumber those in the middle ground.

As a physicist, Johnson is used to seeing populations sorting into bell curves — think of heights and weights, he says. So one might expect that people would naturally sort into this normal distribution when it comes to ideology.

Not so. It doesn’t even matter whether news is real or fake, let alone left or right: The mere act of absorbing news that everyone else is seeing causes a polarizing effect. …


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