Distrust in the media and media usage

Really interesting post by Jonathan Ladd at the Monkey Cage looking at how media consumption patterns vary by levels of trust in the news.  First, though, he compares 2000 to 2010.  Pretty amazing to see how much this has polarized in a decade.  By 2010 partisan viewing habits had diverged quite dramatically from 2000:

He’s got another set of charts looking at viewership by trust level which he describes and then shares his conclusion:

Dividing people this way reveals that those who distrust the media are a good deal more likely to choose their news consumption in ways that confirm their predispositions. Moving from those who do not perceive a lot of media bias to those who do, Republicans go from being 9 percentage points more likely to watch network news to Democrats being 9 percentage points more likely to watch. The gap between Democrats and Republicans in their CNN viewership grows from 5 to 22 percentage points. The partisan gap in NPR listenership grows from 5 to 13 percentage points. The gap in PBS News Hour viewership grows from 7 to 13 percentage points. And the partisan gap in MSNBC viewership grows from 4 to 24 points. Among those who do not perceive a lot of bias, 56 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats watch Fox at least sometimes, a 19 percentage point gap.  But among those who perceive a lot of overall media bias, 75 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats watch Fox, a 42 point gap.

To summarize, people who distrust the institutional media learn about the political world differently. They are more likely to resist messages attributed to the institutional media that they encounter. But they also tend to be exposed to different messages than those who trust the media. They disproportionately choose media outlets that provide information reinforcing their partisan predispositions and are less likely to choose outlets they see as politically hostile. Together, these patterns contribute to partisan differences in perceptions of reality.  [emphasis mine]

Of course, while no single source truly reflects objective reality I think there’s a fair amount of empirical evidence that NPR comes dramatically closer than Fox News and that Fox viewers are truly living in their separate– and sadly, all too often, false– reality.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

4 Responses to Distrust in the media and media usage

  1. NPR is on the FAR LEFT but you can’t recognize that

  2. itchy says:

    That is because NPR actually stands for National Public R-Liberal Kool-Aid.

  3. Mike says:

    I sometimes wonder if some right wing nuts have all the introspection of a dried out earthworm.

    If its one thing I’ve noticed, its that many right wing nuts have all the confidence in the world. They never bother even considering that they might be mistaken. Why bother when you can just ignore the facts and make up your own.

    I suppose living in your own separate reality must be comforting to those who are unable to deal with reality, after all, nothing is wrong, the world isn’t full of tooting, loudmouthed, drooling conservative gasbags who are the main cause of global warming with their constant farting out every orifice as they spend their time shouting into radio microphones about sluts. Everything is always the other guys fault. The horrible left leaning media, the black hearted communist Obama all the other communist democrats, the dirty hippies, those wicked sinful single mothers. Their the reason for any and all problems. Dogs never tip over and spread the garbage, roaming leftist teenagers do it at 4:00 am. And NPR. Evil, evil NPR. So left leaning they make Stalin look right.

    Its a wonderful reality, that right wing nut bubble of a universe. Everything is THE OTHER GUYS fault, because the right is perfect. Their religion is the perfect embodiment of Gods Will. Other religions are just cults. The war was perfect, until Obama took it over. The economy was perfect, until Obama took it over. There is no such thing as pollution, except for the trash those leftist kids keep tossing on your lawn. Oil spills are good for the environment, as are PCB’s, dioxins, mercury and arsenic. Don’t regulate them, the Market will take care of it! The Market see’s all, hears all, knows all and will fix everything. The Market is omniscience and all powerful.

    Yes, quite the nice little bubble some live in. Its a strong, fact proof bubble. No facts get in. Disphoria and methane rages out.

    • itchy says:

      You forgot about the group that wants to fix the elections to legalize pedophilia: NAMBLACORN.

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