Pew Confirms: We're Turning Into Media Tribes

Here's a headline. The latest Pew survey informs us that Fox News is viewed by Americans as the most ideological news network of them all. Well, duh. The shocker, I suppose, was that 14% said Fox was "mostly liberal." (I have it on good authority these are many of the same folks who also believe in flying saucers.)

Snarky asides notwithstanding, the data also testify to our propensity to watch news networks which reconfirm preexisting political biases. Consider the following points I lifted from the Pew report:

• Ideology plays a role in how Americans view the networks. 57% of liberals say that Fox News is mostly conservative, compared with 46% of moderates and 44% of conservatives.

• 48% of conservatives find MSNBC to be mostly liberal, compared with 31% of moderates and 29% of liberals.

• 51% of conservatives say CNN is mostly liberal, while 33% of moderates and 28% of liberals agree. (The report found "comparable ideological differences in perceptions of the ideologies of NBC News, ABC News and CBS News.")

• Regular Fox News viewers are more likely than those tuning into other news networks to see those networks as mostly liberal. 48% of regular Fox viewers say the network is mostly conservative. They also believe that featuring hosts of cable news programs with strong political opinions is a good thing. (Bill O'Reilly, you still have a job);

• At the same time, regular viewers of Fox News think the media's in the tank for the administration. About 45% say the press is not sufficiently critical of the president, compared with 15% of regular MSNBC viewers, 23% of regular CNN viewers and 21% of regular nightly network news viewers;

With conservatives settling in at Fox and liberals congregating around CNN and MSNBC, it's interesting to consider what this suggests about Americans' willingness to consider opposing points of view. To be fair, how many people are interested in having their entire world views challenged after a hard day at the office - especially by a talking head shrieking about high crimes and misdemeanors? Hmm. Maybe that explains Jon & Kate Plus Eight.
  • Charles Cooper On Twitter»

    Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet. E-mail Charlie.

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