News and social media are facing new criticism for dividing the country and essentially stopping government action in its steps.

But two national leaders from both sides of the aisle, former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, also believe that it might be too late for America's news industry to reverse course because the public has become accustomed to consuming news that feeds their bias for division.

"We've reached a point in the country where between the cable news, and the Twitter feeds and everything else like that, you find it difficult to stake yourself out because you are going to get beaten to death that night, either on the tweets coming in or cable," said Powell, former President George W. Bush's top diplomat.

"It reinforces views and does not encourage people to listen to the other side. And so it makes it very, very hard to run government," he added.

Albright, the State Department's boss under former President Bill Clinton, said Americans also have given up a once-sacred practice of seeking other opinions.

"I do think that what has happened, and is a real problem, is people only listen to what they agree with already and it does create an issue in terms of what they know," Albright said at a seminar at the Library of Congress.

The Democrat said she makes a point of listening to the other side, but it isn't always easy. "What I do as I drive, I listen to right-wing radio. It's amazing that I haven't run over somebody or been arrested. But I do think it's important to hear what people are saying and not just listen," she said.

But even trying to find other commentary can be a waste of time. Powell, for example, said that U.S. and foreign news has gone AWOL on many outlets, shifting to Hollywood celebs. "I've invented a word to describe the media. The word I've invented is 'celebrification.' Everything has become celebrity driven. You can turn on a morning news show, you get two minutes of news and then we're off chasing some celebrity. And it has the attention span of a gnat that just died. It's really bad."

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at