You are what you watch


Because this weeks blog post is about new sources, I decided to read an article about just that. I read an article called “4 lessons on how Americans consume political news”, which I found to be very interesting. This article discusses results from a study that looked into what news sources people use, how this relates to their political ideology, and how trustworthy they find new sources.  While most of the results were not surprising to be, for instance that conservatives mainly watch Fox News, I think the statistics about how trustworthy people find the news sources to be is more important for people to be made aware of.  In our class, we discussed the role of journalism with Mike Daisey.  We all seemed to agree that journalism’s goal is to tell the truth.  So why is it that so many people mistrust major news sources? In the article it states, in a poll of conservatives, that “Though this far-right group shows distrust of 24 of the 36 news organizations included in the poll, 88 percent of consistent conservatives trust Fox News. ”

The major problem I see with this, and why I find this article to be an important news article, is that we are perpetuating the split in our political ideologies.  Conservatives watch Fox News, hear more conservative news stories, and as a result believe that other news sources are untrustworthy because they do not cover the same stories.  I do not think this is a good thing for people to do.  It would be better if people looked at multiple news coerces to hear more stories and opinions on topics.  However, this article shows that people know when news sources to watch based on what there political ideology is, and they they stick to that.  I have seen first hand with my dad, who is a steadfast conservative, his distrust in other news outlets like CNN.  He always gets very heated when watching CNN and argues with the news reporters insisting that they are leaving out part of the story.

This type of statistics so not get attention in news outlets because it promotes people watching a variety of news sources.  If a source like Fox News where to run this story, it would be promoting people to trust other news sources and to vary the sources they go to.  The new companies probably are proud of these statistics.  They are able to get viewers to believe that their sources is the most trustworthy and they become very brand loyal.

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3 responses to “You are what you watch

  1. I think another relevant contributor to this news bias is the impact of social setting on personal choice. Many of us remain loyal to a certain source or type of source simply because our parents, teachers, friends, etc. follow it, too. News is, at its core, fact. However, the way we selectively gather news is influenced by our social environment, and in turn, influences the way we interpret the happenings of the world around us.

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    • I agree, I think that many of us will watch the same news that our parents have watched. However, I have noticed that as I have gone through school, and especially college, I have started to look at other news sources. I have become increasingly aware of the bias of various news stations, as it is constantly addressed in classes or among classmates. Additionally, the push to find ‘reliable sources’ that so many of us have experienced while writing papers or doing research has encouraged me to become wary of the potential bias in many top news stores. Do you think that other millennials have a similar experience?

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    • Your comment reminds me of the theory of social determinism, which says that our social environments shape our behaviors. I’m sure everyone can realize how this is true to some extent if you take a critical look at your actions. In the context of this post, we project our learned behaviors into what we choose to read and what we choose to share with others. Is it possible to ignore this innate tendency for the sake of open mindedness?

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