Study shows that partisan TV pundits, left and right alike, focus mainly on demonizing the opposition
I can’t help but wonder if THIS also applies to my blog:
Research published in the September issue of Political Research Quarterly has found pundits on political opinion shows influence attitudes toward presidential candidates — and in a way that is entirely negative…
The researchers found Fox News viewers became more favorable of McCain and less favorable of Obama over the course of the 2008 presidential election. Both Fox’s news programs and opinion shows made viewers more favorable of McCain and less favorable of Obama, but the effect was stronger for those who watched the opinion shows. The study also found MSNBC’s opinion shows had the converse effect, viewers became more favorable of Obama and less favorable of McCain.
Opinion shows on both news networks adopted an “attack mentality” during the 2008 election season. Pundits on MSNBC and Fox News attacked the candidate they disagreed with far more often than they voiced support for the candidate they agreed with.
This tendency to attack the opposition influenced how viewers perceived the candidates. Watching Fox News opinion shows made viewers more likely to think Obama was extremely liberal. Conversely, watching MSNBC opinion shows made viewers more likely to think McCain was extremely conservative.
But watching Fox News opinion shows had little impact on how viewers perceived McCain’s ideology, and watching MSNBC opinion shows had little impact on how viewers perceived Obama’s ideology.
The study suggests that “viewers attitudes are shaped predominantly by vitriolic coverage of the opposition…Rather than viewers consuming news from a source that confirms their support for their in-party candidate, viewers are consuming news from a source that seems to confirm their distaste for the opposition. The result is not only more polarized partisans but also partisans who are polarized because they hate the other side rather than because they are card-carrying supporters of their side.”