So you’re a misinformed Fox “News” viewer — but why are you so misinformed? Turns out, it’s a little bit you (because you’re attracted to a source like Fox in the first place) and it’s a little bit of Fox itself — a political operation which pretends to be a news channel, purposely misleading it’s base viewers, telling you what you want to hear but not necessarily what you should know. In other words, you’re in your own little world of paranoia and incorrect beliefs because you like that world.
The Science of Fox News: Why Its Viewers are the Most Misinformed – Authoritarian people have a stronger emotional need for an outlet like Fox, where they can find affirmation and escape factual challenges to their beliefs.
[…] When are people most likely to seek out self-affirming information? Hart found that they’re most vulnerable to selective exposure if they have defensive goals—for instance, being highly committed to a preexisting view, and especially a view that is tied to a person’s core values. Another defensive motivation identified in Hart’s study was closed-mindedness, which makes a great deal of sense. It is probably part of the definition of being closed-minded, or dogmatic, that you prefer to consume information that agrees with what you already believe.
So who’s closed-minded? Multiple studies have shown that political conservatives—e.g., Fox viewers–tend to have a higher need for closure. Indeed, this includes a group called right-wing authoritarians, who are increasingly prevalent in the Republican Party. This suggests they should also be more likely to select themselves into belief-affirming information streams, like Fox News or right-wing talk radio or the Drudge Report. Indeed, a number of research results support this idea.
[…] PIPA’s study of misinformation in the 2010 election didn’t just show that Fox News viewers were more misinformed than viewers of other channels. It also showed that watching more Fox made believing in nine separate political misperceptions morelikely. And that was a unique effect, unlike any observed with the other news channels that were studied. “With all of the other media outlets, the more exposed you were, the less likely you were to have misinformation,” explains PIPA’s director, political psychologist Steven Kull. “While with Fox, the more exposure you had, in most cases, the more misinformation you had. And that is really, in a way, the most powerful factor, because it strongly suggests they were actually getting the information from Fox.”
Indeed, this effect was even present in non-Republicans–another indicator that Fox is probably its cause. As Kull explains, “even if you’re a liberal Democrat, you are affected by the station.” If you watched Fox, you were more likely to believe the nine falsehoods, regardless of your political party affiliation.
[…] 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… Continue reading…
It’s like a perpetual feedback loop of happy, Orwellian horseshit: Fox is anything but ‘fair and balanced,’ but as long as they tell you that’s what they are, you get to pretend that’s a valid description of your chosen news source.
If you’re happy knowing that about yourself, great. Just don’t be surprised or offended when your friends and loved ones won’t discuss issues with you anymore, or when they make the circling motion with their finger on the side of their head. As Paul Harvey would say, now you know the rest of the story.