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‘Vitriolic coverage’: Study examines why Fox News viewers hate Obama

Those who think the growing popularity of highly-partisan opinion shows is tearing the United States apart now have some empiric evidence on their side.

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.

“An increasing number of Americans engage in selective exposure to ideologically consistent news sources. This fact has caused some scholars and pundits to worry that partisan news sources such as Fox News are making their audiences more polarized,” Glen Smith of the University of North Georgia and Kathleen Searles of Augusta State University wrote in their study.

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,” Smith and Searles wrote. “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.”

The findings have worrisome implications for American politics.

“If a large segment of the base of either party believes the president is ideologically extreme, they are likely to attach that extreme label to any policies the president supports,” the researchers wrote in their study. “Perhaps the rise of partisan news outlets, and consequently the increasing influence of opinion show hosts on the right and left, has contributed to polarization of the two political parties.”

by Anonymousreply 1110/07/2013

bump

by Anonymousreply 109/07/2013

On top of that - every local, county, state, agency in this state that has a TV in the lobby has it tuned to Fox News and most doctor's offices too. I've taken to complaining about it. I don't appreciate being force fed shit.

by Anonymousreply 309/07/2013

Someone should create a study on why the mainstream hates FOX news and FOX viewers. I'm sure many of us will share our reasons why. In other words I don't think anybody of importance gives a dayum about that study.

by Anonymousreply 409/07/2013

Bill O'Reilly seems to LOVE Obama now and is calling everyone that doesn't support the Syria attack "racists".

by Anonymousreply 509/07/2013

Anyone who *hates* Obama, has issues. I'm looking at you R2.

by Anonymousreply 609/07/2013

Conservatives are very good at dismissing anything factual as "liberal bias" I've noticed.

by Anonymousreply 710/07/2013

i would NEVER go to a doctor's office who had fox news on in the waiting room. that's just asking for trouble.

by Anonymousreply 810/07/2013

I read quite a few articles on the referenced site.

There really is no hope anymore. Maybe in a couple of generations when all this poison has a chance to get watered down.

by Anonymousreply 910/07/2013

Glad somebody did the research, but it won't mean squat to the Faux Noise crowd. They don't believe in "facts" and "evidence" but rather gut feeling, opinion and paranoia. Witness the story of Faux's Saturday morning curvy couch program.wherein they try to claim Obama said he would personally fund a Muslim museum during the government shutdown, based on a story in some random fake (really fake) news site. As Rush Limbaugh once said, it doesn't matter if its not true; you feel it in your gut that he would do something like that. And don't think for a second that Ailes didn't order up the story. Every second of every day is planned on Faux. They know its psyops -- and they don't care we all know. They don't believe it matters.

by Anonymousreply 1010/07/2013

Just so you know guys, in case you're seeing research on Faux News on a lot of sites all of a sudden ... the team has noticed the right wingers are having an effect on the blame game. This was NOT expected to happen. The WWII Memorial thing sort of turned the tide. Very concerning. Expect more, much more.

by Anonymousreply 1110/07/2013
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