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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Study: TV news turns Liberals into conservatives

In a study by the University of Wisconsin school of journalism, they found out that Liberals who got most of their news from television in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks increased their support for expanded police powers, bringing them closer in line with the opinions of conservatives. TV turning liberals into conservatives? I was surprised as well. But it seems to be legit: Liberals who gleaned most of their news from television in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks increased their support for expanded police powers, bringing them closer in line with the opinions of conservatives, a study by a UW-Madison researcher shows. In contrast, heavy newspaper reading by liberals was related to lower levels of support for expanded police powers and for limits on privacy and freedom of information, basically reinforcing the differences between liberals and conservatives, says Dietram Scheufele, a journalism professor who conducted the study. "TV pushed the two groups together in their thinking about post-9/11 policies, such as the Patriot Act. It made liberals more conservative. It took them away from what they initially believed and pushed them more toward a more conservative law-and-order stance," Scheufele says. The study, soon to be published in the journal Mass Communications & Society, is based on a survey of nearly 800 residents of Tompkins County, N.Y., in the fall of 2001, shortly after the attacks. Its results have been validated by two subsequent national surveys. The same couldn't be said about Liberals who read newspapers apparently: About 39 percent of light-reading liberals backed restricting freedom of speech in the days after the attacks, versus 31 percent who were heavy newspaper readers. Among conservatives, about 66 percent favored the limits, and nearly 70 percent of heavy readers backed the restrictions. "Newspaper reading tended to reinforce partisan leanings, partly because it is more selective, readers have more options and seek out their own viewpoints," Scheufele says. "By contrast, TV coverage is very linear, doesn't offer any choice and was more image driven. You saw the plane hitting the building time and time again." Scheufele says post-9/11 television coverage quickly switched to war themes, such as CNN's "America's New War," MSNBC's "America on Alert" and Fox News' "War on Terror." In addition to repeated images of the terror attacks, Scheufele says television news coverage emphasized flag-waving ceremonies, religious services and celebrity telethons. "It wasn't just a Fox News phenomenon. It was across all of the TV coverage," says Scheufele, who was the lead investigator on the project. His associates were Matthew Nisbet, an assistant professor at The Ohio State University, and Ronald Ostman, a professor at Cornell University. Are you saying that Fox News isn't the conservative mind control tool that liberals claim it to be? That actually more liberal or centerd news channels had the same effect on people watching it? That when people can't control reality, they tend to be more conservative in their views regarding the war on terror? Interesting......

5 Comments:

At 3/13/2005 08:05:00 AM, Blogger Louise said...

Interesting isn't it Sandmonkey. And Middle Eastern blogs are doing just the opposite,IMHO.

 
At 3/13/2005 08:05:00 AM, Blogger Louise said...

Interesting isn't it Sandmonkey. And Middle Eastern blogs are doing just the opposite,IMHO.

 
At 3/13/2005 08:12:00 AM, Blogger Louise said...

Well, so much for blogger's problems being solved. It keeps telling me your website doesn't exist and then posts multiple copies of my comments. GRRRRRRR, too.

 
At 3/13/2005 03:44:00 PM, Blogger Tina said...

It has to do with the visual images. No matter what CNN says people can see things for themselves. Of course, it doesn't work in places like NYC or LA.

 
At 3/13/2005 07:38:00 PM, Anonymous Damascene said...

The best we can do is read and watch various sources.

 

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