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The Science Of Fox News

 
 
Reply Mon 9 Nov, 2015 08:21 am
The Science Of Fox News: Why Its Viewers Are The Most Misinformed
By murphthesurf3
Thursday Oct 23, 2014 7:00 AM CDT

The Core Thesis:
Authoritarian people have a stronger emotional need for an outlet like Fox, where they can find affirmation and escape factual challenges to their beliefs.

Insights from Chris Mooney’s book The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality.

Now I know this is going to raise all kinds of hackles but I find the book fascinating and the article referred to here does a reasonable strong job representing a research heavy 336 page tome. The Amazon Link provided provides more insights in the reviews there. Here is one of them: "Drawing on a growing body of empirical research, he provides an intelligent, nuanced and persuasive account of how conservatives and liberals tend to differ at the level of psychology and personality" (Financial Times, April 2012)

The author explores the findings of seven surveys. These are public opinion surveys that ask citizens about their beliefs on factual but contested issues, and also about their media habits. Inevitably, some significant percentage of citizens are found to be misinformed about the facts, and in a politicized way—but not only that. The surveys also find that those who watch Fox are more likely to be misinformed, their views of reality skewed in a right-wing direction. In some cases, the studies even show that watching more Fox makes the misinformation problem worse.

The issues were the Iraq War, Global Warming, Health Care, Ground Zero Mosque, 2010 Elections. The author goes on to explore the evidence that supports his key tenet: Fox viewers are misinformed. Of note, this means, in his study, that Fox viewers are both misinformed in term of what they know, and that they have been misinformed by Fox as a source of what they know.

Looking at a variety of studies, the author comes to the conclusion that
Fox is imparting misinformation even as politically conservative viewers are also seeking the station out—highly open to it and already convinced about many falsehoods that dovetail with their beliefs, certainty is driven by a kind of feedback loop. Those seeking to have their beliefs reinforced only look to those who will reinforce it. This is referred to as selective exposure and it is the clearest way to look at how people create their own realities, based upon their views of the world.

People overall are nearly twice as likely to consume ideologically congenial information as to consume ideologically inconvenient information.

Add to this a certain predisposition to close mindedness. Political conservatives tend to have a higher need for closure. Conservatives who are authoritarian/absolute in style maintain their beliefs against challenges by limiting their experiences, and surrounding themselves with sources of information that will tell them they are right.

The author then goes on to explain how Fox takes advantage of this mindset to program stories that feed into it. References are made to the "nine separate political misperceptions" identified by the PIPA study which Fox viewers widely embrace.

I am going to close by offering this concluding segment from the article:



In summary, then, the “science” of Fox News clearly shows that its viewers are more misinformed than the viewers of other stations, and are indeed this way for ideological reasons. But these are not necessarily the reasons that liberals may assume. Instead, the Fox “effect” probably occurs both because the station churns out falsehoods that conservatives readily accept—falsehoods that may even seem convincing to some liberals on occasion—but also because conservatives are overwhelmingly inclined to choose to watch Fox to begin with.

At the same time, it’s important to note that they’re also disinclined to watch anything else. Fox keeps constantly in their minds the idea that the rest of the media are “biased” against them, and conservatives duly respond by saying other media aren’t worth watching—it’s just a pack of lies. According to Public Policy Polling’s annual TV News Trust Poll (the 2011 run), 72 percent of conservatives say they trust Fox News, but they also say they strongly distrust NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN. Liberals and moderates, in contrast, trust all of these outlets more than they distrust them (though they distrust Fox). This, too, suggests conservative selective exposure.

And there is an even more telling study of “Fox-only” behavior among conservatives, from Stanford’s Shanto Iyengar and Kyu Hahn of Yonsei University, in Seoul, South Korea. They conducted a classic left-right selective exposure study, giving members of different ideological groups the chance to choose stories from a news stream that provided them with a headline and a news source logo—Fox, CNN, NPR, and the BBC—but nothing else. The experiment was manipulated so that the same headline and story was randomly attributed to different news sources. The result was that Democrats and liberals were definitely less inclined to choose Fox than other sources, but spread their interest across the other outlets when it came to news. But Republicans and conservatives overwhelmingly chose Fox for hard news and even for soft news, and ignored other sources. “The probability that a Republican would select a CNN or NPR report was around 10%,” wrote the authors.

In other words Fox News is both deceiver and enabler simultaneously. First, its existence creates the opportunity for conservatives to exercise their biases, by selecting into the Fox information stream, and also by imbibing Fox-style arguments and claims that can then fuel biased reasoning about politics, science, and whatever else comes up.

But at the same time, it’s also likely that conservatives, tending to be more closed-minded and more authoritarian, have a stronger emotional need for an outlet like Fox, where they can find affirmation and escape from the belief challenges constantly presented by the “liberal media.” Their psychological need for something affirmative is probably stronger than what’s encountered on the opposite side of the aisle—as is their revulsion towards allegedly liberal (but really centrist) media outlets.

And thus we find, at the root of our political dysfunction, a classic nurture-nature mélange. The penchant for selective exposure is rooted in our psychology and our brains. Closed-mindedness and authoritarianism—running stronger in some of us than in others—likely are as well.

But nevertheless, it took the emergence of a station like Fox News before these tendencies could be fully activated—polarizing America not only over politics, but over reality itself.

http://www.alternet.org/...
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Type: Discussion • Score: 13 • Views: 5,153 • Replies: 122

 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Nov, 2015 11:14 am
@bobsal u1553115,
Bob, positively delightful, thank you
Baldimo
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 9 Nov, 2015 01:00 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
Quote:
The issues were the Iraq War, Global Warming, Health Care, Ground Zero Mosque, 2010 Elections


This is the criteria they used?
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Nov, 2015 02:54 pm
@dalehileman,
We aim to please. Thank-you!
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  2  
Reply Mon 9 Nov, 2015 02:57 pm
@Baldimo,
The point of the article made by baldino.

Try using sources of news than Fox or RW blogs, baldino!
Baldimo
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 9 Nov, 2015 03:03 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
I don't use either of those for sources Bob. It's use that use far leftwing sites and blogs as your sources... pot meet kettle...
revelette2
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 09:43 am
@Baldimo,
What source do you use? I tend to just read the internet news, starting with my start page of yahoo news headlines, then click on those that interest me.
bobsal u1553115
 
  0  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 09:50 am
@revelette2,
I'm curious, too.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 10:07 am
@revelette2,
That's something I've wondered about as well.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 10:08 am
@bobsal u1553115,
My main news source is the BBC. The BBC is required by law to be impartial which is probably why Baldy views it as a far left broadcaster.
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 10:19 am
@izzythepush,
I follow PRI on science

http://www.pri.org/programs/science-friday

also Quirks and Quarks

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks/about


I mix up CBC, PRI and Monocle for politics, arts, general world news.

http://www.pri.org/about-pri

http://monocle.com/about/

until about 5 or 6 years ago, I was very connected to the BBC as a source of news, but with newer players in the media market, it has fallen behind (for my uses)
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 10:21 am
@revelette2,
It depends on the news story. Because of the blatant bias against Foxnews on this site I purposefully do not use Foxnews as a source. I'll generally look at CNN or other news channels or I'll post Wikipedia articles. I do not post articles from far right wing sites as I even have a hard time with the language they use and their style of writing.
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2015 05:18 pm
@izzythepush,
All right-thinking people know the BBC are a buncha commies.
0 Replies
 
revelette2
 
  4  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 01:13 pm
@Baldimo,
It is not just this site who think Fox news is untrustworthy. Politifact did a year long fact checking study on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.

Quote:
After gathering and fact checking statements for over a year, Politifact found that 58 percent of the claims made on Fox News were rated mostly false, false, or "Pants on Fire" false. When rating the claims made by rival MSNBC, 43 percent of the claims were rated at least mostly false, with 57 percent being labeled as at least partly true. CNN did the best on the "Truth-O-Meter" with only 23 percent of their claims being rated as mostly false or worse.


source
McGentrix
 
  0  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 03:14 pm
@revelette2,
revelette2 wrote:

It is not just this site who think Fox news is untrustworthy. Politifact did a year long fact checking study on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.

Quote:
After gathering and fact checking statements for over a year, Politifact found that 58 percent of the claims made on Fox News were rated mostly false, false, or "Pants on Fire" false. When rating the claims made by rival MSNBC, 43 percent of the claims were rated at least mostly false, with 57 percent being labeled as at least partly true. CNN did the best on the "Truth-O-Meter" with only 23 percent of their claims being rated as mostly false or worse.


source


This is silly. Foxnews is 60% pundits giving their opinions. If they only looked at the news segments, I doubt the scores would be too far different between the three. There is only one news. What are they going to say, that a plane didn't crash? That the Mets really won the World Series?

These studies are useless when they say they are judging the news.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 03:23 pm
i just read or listen to the headlines and then make up my own facts about the story, way more entertaining than reading or listening to actual news
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 03:35 pm
@revelette2,
this is kind of entertaining (if you can stand it)

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/feb/26/fact-checks-behind-daily-shows-50-fox-news-lies/
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 03:50 pm
@McGentrix,
McGentrix wrote:
c There is only one news. What are they going to say, that a plane didn't crash? That the Mets really won the World Series?


that's the uhhhh joy of it

they do get basic facts/news/information wrong

(and since I know your no video, it didn't happen deal, there's a nice amount of video in the mix in the samples I found)

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/01/12/fox-news-facts-fails_n_6456178.html

http://bluenationreview.com/dont-need-stinkin-facts-fox-news/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fox-news-isis-chattanooga_55a92843e4b0c5f0322d2805

http://www.livescience.com/23448-fox-news-climate-coverage-wrong.html

http://nowitcounts.com/fox-news-makes-facts/

___

I think the biggest question is why they consistently get things wrong? not enough funding to do the research? not enough time? doing it deliberately? don't know? don't care? doesn't matter?

___

they're definitely not a source I'd recommend to anyone for actual news/facts/information

they're interesting when it comes to opinions, but you want to fact-check pretty much everything you hear/see on Fox

hawkeye10
 
  -2  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 04:33 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
The facts are in dispute, with all sides taking a dim view of science. Who then is doing the deciding about who is misinformed?
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 04:36 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
bobsal u1553115 wrote:

The point of the article made by baldino.

Try using sources of news than Fox or RW blogs, baldino!


No one should be getting their news all from one place anymore than we should be eating one food only. Is Fox any worse than the rest of Corporate Media? In my opinion they all have a lot of suckage.
 

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