Pew Study Confirms That Fox Is Dominant Source of ‘News’ on the Right – Liberals Rely on Many Sources

graph-pew-differences-in-liberal-conservative-news-sourcesThe PewResearch Journalism Project has released a study that confirms what is already clear: The American right gets most of its information about politics from Fox News, while the left relies on multiple sources, including CNN, NPR, MSNBC and the New York Times.

According to the study, consistent conservatives:

  • Are tightly clustered around a single news source, far more than any other group in the survey, with 47% citing Fox News as their main source for news about government and politics.
  • Express greater distrust than trust of 24 of the 36 news sources measured in the survey. At the same time, fully 88% of consistent conservatives trust Fox News.
  • Are, when on Facebook, more likely than those in other ideological groups to hear political opinions that are in line with their own views.
  • Are more likely to have friends who share their own political views. Two-thirds (66%) say most of their close friends share their views on government and politics.

Pew found that liberals:

  • Are less unified in their media loyalty; they rely on a greater range of news outlets, including some – like NPR and the New York Times– that others use far less.
  • Express more trust than distrust of 28 of the 36 news outlets in the survey. NPR, PBS and the BBC are the most trusted news sources for consistent liberals.
  • Are more likely than those in other ideological groups to block or “defriend” someone on a social network – as well as to end a personal friendship – because of politics.
  • Are more likely to follow issue-based groups, rather than political parties or candidates, in their Facebook feeds.

While the Pew study found clear evidence that Fox is the predominant influence on right-wing perception of political news, the report stops short of stating another equally obvious fact: Conservatives’ reliance on Fox is corrosive to American politics because, despite its name, Fox is not a “news” channel. It broadcasts information that has been tailored to fit the political agenda of the Republican Party and its billionaire bosses, making it more an equivalent of state-run media in Asia or Russia than of its legitimate journalistic competitors in the United States.

In short, Fox News lies — as study after study after study has shown.

Over the 17 years it has been in business, Fox has created two political realities in America — the “real” reality that liberals and moderates understand and the fake reality, the Fox News “bubble,” also known as the epistemological closure, that enables Republican politicians to characterize policies falsely — the idea, for example, that Obamacare was “socialism,” even though the individual mandate was designed by the right-wing Heritage Foundation and was first deployed in Massachusetts by GOP Gov. Mitt Romney, and despite the fact that the mandate’s purpose was drive millions of new customers to giant, free-market health-insurance corporations. Fox also provides cover so that GOP pols can create scandals where none exist — the Benghazi attacks and IRS scrutiny of nonprofit political groups, for example — and to fan the flames of fear about Ebola and ISIS in order to drive easily panicked voters to the polls to vote, ironically, for the party of more fear.

The Pew study also bolsters another fact that is already clear: There will never be an analog of Fox on the left, as the poor ratings of now-defunct Air America and, to a degree, MSNBC have shown. Liberals, by their nature, are too inquisitive, skeptical and, as the saying goes, reality-based to rely on a single source for news.

Good for liberals. Unfortunately for the future of the American democratic-republic, however, the fake reality created by Fox and the GOP too often trumps real reality, with dire consequences. This happened in the 2010 “keep the government out of my Medicare” midterm elections that produced the disastrous tea party Congress with its government shutdown, gridlock and 17-percent approval rating. And it appears to be happening in the current midterms, in which, if you believe Fox News, Ebola and ISIS are hiding under every bed.

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