Race and Fox News

Does Fox news make people racist or do racists watch Fox news?  Some pretty interesting research that suggests that exposure to Fox news affects the racial views of it’s viewers:

Is there any merit to such criticisms? Do media and racial polarization reinforce each other? Is there a connection between news media viewing habits and attitudes about racial equality? Based on an analysis of the American National Election Studies 2012 dataset, we find that white respondents who regularly watch Fox News are more likely to express attitudes of symbolic racism andracial resentment. This is especially true of those Fox News viewers who live in the South…

Our analysis suggests that regular Fox News viewers are more likely to hold such opinions, even after controlling for other factors such as individual race, age, income, education, partisanship, ideology, religiosity and geography. In the graph below, we compare conservative white Republicans who watch Fox News regularly to those who do not. The results show that regular Fox Newsviewers are significantly more likely to think that blacks have too much political influence. Those Fox News viewers who live in the South are the most likely to hold such attitudes…  [bold and italics mine]

Controlling for other important factors, Fox News viewers are much less likely to agree that structural racism is a barrier to black upward mobility. Fox Newsviewers are also more likely to disagree that “generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class,” and less likely to agree that “’over the past few years, blacks have gotten less than they deserve.”

In total, of the 10 racially related variables examined, five showed a statistically significant Fox News effect.

Of course, one explanation is that, even with controls for ideology, etc., Fox is uniquely attractive to viewers with negative views about Blacks.  The authors share some related research to call that interpretation into question, but cannot entirely rebut it.  Even so, at best we are looking at a situation where Fox is somehow especially attractive to viewers with negative views about Blacks and, at worst, helping viewers to have more negative views about Blacks.  Whichever of this is going on, it certainly does not speak well of Fox.

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Photo of the day

From a Telegraph Winter Solstice gallery:

People gather at Stonehenge in Wiltshire on the Winter Solstice to witness the sunrise on the shortest day of the year.

Thousands of people gathered at Stonehenge for a winter solstice which may have taken place on the mildest December 22 since records began. A crowd of almost 5,000 people were at the prehistoric Wiltshire landmark for the “very special” time of the latest dawn and the point when the sun is at its lowest in the sky, according to senior Druid, King Arthur Pendragon.

Picture: Eddie Mulholland/The Telegraph

The bathroom post

Donald Trump’s most recent outlandish comments about Hillary Clinton (apparently, it’s “disgusting” to use a restroom?!) and the recent controversies on transgender persons and bathrooms led to this “year of the toilet” column in the NYT I really enjoyed.  That said, it also reminded me of this Vox post from a few weeks ago about choosing the best urinal in the men’s room that I had meant to comment upon.

Men, we’ve all been there. A row of glistening white urinals appear before you. They’re all empty, thank goodness. You choose the cleanest one. That’s when you hear the door. Another person is walking into the bathroom. Don’t choose the stall next to me, is your first thought. He starts walking toward the urinals. Don’t do it. And closer. Don’t do it. Don’t…

Most men experience some level of social anxiety in the bathroom. We have an innate sense of personal space that we like to keep clear from strangers. When someone enters that personal space, we stiffen up.

This was demonstrated in a 1976 study. Researchers found the closer they stood in relationship to an unsuspecting participant in a men’s room, the longer it would take the participant to start urinating.

So true, and so little talked about.  I used to suffer from pretty serious social anxiety in public restrooms and I’m actually proud of the fact of how well I’ve overcome it (still not a big fan of talking while using the facilities, though, as some of my colleagues who share my restroom are).  Anyway, I did love this post and how to use math to pick the best urinal.  I pretty much figured this out on my own a while back.  I’ve also long thought that it almost makes no sense to design a mens’ room with an even number of urinals.  Donald Trump may find it disgusting, but everybody pees (and everybody poops, too, but at least men get stalls for that).

Republicans versus Festivus

How could Republicans not like Festivus?!  The airing of grievances!  The feats of strength!  What am I talking about?  PPP had some Christmas fun with the latest poll (“Is Santa a Democrat or Republican?” among other questions), but personally, I loved that they asked about Festivus:

-The major December holidays have varying degrees of popularity with Americans. Everyone likes Christmas (88/6 favorability) and pretty much everyone with an opinion about it likes Hanukkah (64/8 favorability.) It gets a little more divided when it comes to Kwanzaa (37/21 favorability) and Festivus (24/17 favorability). Both of those holidays see a party divide when it comes to views about them. Democrats are fine with both Kwanzaa (49/13) and Festivus (25/15). Republicans meanwhile have a negative view of each of those holidays- it’s 27/33 for Kwanzaa and 13/25 for Festivus.

Just sad.  Happy Festivus!  Get the pole out of the crawl space!

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