Economic Trends Affecting National Discourse

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Topic: How has the evolution of advertising technology, and its economic repercussions, contributed to the concentration and polarization of America’s traditional media ecosystem and national discourse? What potential policy options can most effectively address the root causes of this trend?

Abstract: This analysis strove to demonstrate that the polarization currently afflicting American national discourse is partially structural in nature, and that this structural component can be primarily attributed to the major stakeholder groups’ competitive responses to disruptive technological innovation and its economic repercussions. Furthermore, the paper illustrates the tangible and material harms caused by growing polarization and offers policy solutions that apply to each of the main stakeholder groups involved in the complex system embodied by the nation’s social and political debate. Interestingly, this paper concurred with Mark Twain’s observation that “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes,” in that the dated practice of yellow journalism in news media, the recurrent strategy of emulating competitors’ tactics in business, and the contemporary rediscovery of narrowcasting as a tool for customer segmentation online, have all reemerged as themes in the internet era’s fractured information landscape.





Schaffernoth, Charles Adam (2023). Economic Trends Affecting National Discourse. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.