How Your Media Diet Influences Your Views

Source: Pew Research



Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan “fact tank” whose mission is to inform the public about issues, attitudes and trends. Back in April, Pew released a wonderful data set and analytics about the impact of media on partisanship.

As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about data sources, cognitive errors, and behavioral economics, I found it fascinating. Tribalism and Cognitive Dissonance explains a lot of the results. (You can quibble about the specific locations on that spectrum of various outlets). And of course, it confirms all of my priors (as discussed here and here).

Fox News, even in the Post-Roger Ailes era, remains the most influential cable news-related channel. If you ever wondered about just how influential, consider what Pew found:

5 facts about Fox News

1. Around 4-in-10 Americans trust Fox News. Nearly the same share distrust it.

2. Republicans trust Fox News more than any other outlet. Democrats distrust it more than any other outlet.

3. On an ideological scale, the average Fox News consumer is to the right of the average U.S. adult, but not as far to the right as the audiences of some other outlets.

4. People who cite Fox News as their main source of political news are older and more likely to be white than U.S. adults overall.

5. Those who name Fox News as their main source of political news stand out in their views on key issues and people, including President Donald Trump.

Ailes famously said that if Nixon had a Fox News, he would not have had to resign. That sounded a lot like bravado before the network launched, but it turned out to be part of the plan from the beginning.

The ramifications of this is the deep dissemination of misinformation: This is troubling for any Democracy during normal times, but it has become literally deadly during a pandemic.

If this sort of stuff fascinates you as much as it does me, check out Pew’s full discussion.



5 facts about Fox News
John Gramlich
Pew Research Center, April 8, 2020

‘What are we so afraid of?’ Tony Green, on dismissing, denying, contracting and spreading the coronavirus
Eli Saslow
Washington Post,  October 10, 2020


How to Talk to a Fox News Viewer (November 22, 2018)

America’s Fox News Problem (July 4, 2018)





Source: Pew Research


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