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    Anonymous commented  · 

    Polarization, building for decades, was already intense before COVID-19. Now it’s on steroids – especially with a presidential election just six months away. And at a time when a shared reliance on facts and science is absolutely critical, partisanship and a deficit of trust have made fighting the virus all the more challenging.

    “For 40 years, there’s been a growing anti-intellectualism or perhaps populist resentment toward the traditional sources of informational authority – the press, academia, the scientific community, nonpartisan government agencies,” says David Barker, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University in Washington. “We’ve gotten to the point, egged on by the president for four years, where maybe one-third of the country just does not trust a single word they hear from any of the traditional sources.”

    It must be acknowledged that the “traditional sources” sometimes do get it wrong. The mainstream media make mistakes. In 2003, the United States went to war in Iraq based on faulty intelligence over weapons of mass destruction.

    But each side now has its own sources of information and its own perspective in interpreting that information – coupled with a healthy dose of distrust of the other side.

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