As partisan news networks like Fox News and also MSNBC have risen in popularity, so has actually the polarization of numerous Americans’ politics views. In brand-new research, Jay Hmielowski, Myiah Hutchens, and Michael Beam discover that if both liberal and conservative media contribute to polarization, conservative are an ext likely to be part of a media echo chamber, trusting fewer sources and also seeking info from a narrower variety of news outlets.

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Have friend rolled your eyes at those who room wearing masks in public? Or perform you involuntarily grimace when you watch a MAGA sign? this reactions are increasingly typical in an setting where ideas have become much more polarized. Rises in polarization have actually dove-tailed with the climb of partisan 24-hour news networks prefer the conservative Fox News and also liberal MSNBC and fragmented web news sites that cater to particular political beliefs. World who study political interaction have long said that the progressively partisan news setting is related to partisan beliefs. Our recent study aims to disentangle these relationship by examining media use and also polarized attitudes.

We uncovered that city hall both liberal and also conservative media equally add to holding partisan beliefs, i.e. Those i m sorry align through those of particular political parties. However, in comparison to liberal beliefs, human being holding conservative partisan beliefs were much more likely to tune right into conservative media and also then consequently held even stronger conservative beliefs.

We looked at just how these relationships emerged over time making use of a three-wave panel study accumulated by the inspection firm YouGov in the lead up to the 2016 united state presidential election. Us measured data simply after the politics conventions in July, simply after the Presidential debates in October, and the week prior to the basic election. Throughout each wave we request how generally participants used assorted media outlets and also their views on 3 politicized issues: immigration, guns, and law enforcement.

We looked in ~ the relationships between media use and beliefs in three various ways. First, come what extent did media usage foster later on political beliefs; second, to what degree did political ideas foster later media use; and third, what was the overtime, reinforcing, nature the the relationship between media and also belief?

Our results display that both liberal and also conservative media might be causing alters to the public’s attitudes. In both cases, spend partisan media was linked with holding ideas consistent v the media outlet (i.e., conservative ideas leading to conservative attitudes). Therefore, our results indicate that both liberal and conservative partisan media are most likely contributing to polarization in the US.

We find various results once looking in ~ the effect of beliefs on news selection. Our examine did not find that hold a liberal place on a subject led to boosted use of liberal media use in the future. By contrast, holding conservative beliefs was linked with boosted use of conservative media sources. In various other words, if you host a conservative position relative to the problem of pistol rights, then you’re likely to look for out Fox News in the future.


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Our most essential finding is even if it is beliefs and also use develop what is known as one echo chamber, a space where the reinforcing result of media and also beliefs drive human being to wall themselves turn off from a broader range of media. Our results did not find evidence that liberals live in a media echo chamber. Indeed, there might not it is in an echo chamber because that liberals since they are consuming a more comprehensive range the views. Study has shown that liberals often tend to report higher levels of to trust in media, generally, and greater levels of trust in an ext outlets contrasted to conservatives. Therefore, although attention to liberal media sources could lead certain people come hold an ext extreme attitudes, these attitudes do no seem to rise use the partisan media because they could additionally consume other outlets that breaks this reinforcing process.

By contrast, our results did uncover a reinforcing relationship in between conservative beliefs and also media use. Various other scholars have shown that conservatives have tendency to trust fewer media sources, which likely results in them in consuming a narrow range of news outlets. Together a result, conservatives are much more likely to be life in a interaction echo chamber whereby beliefs and media use reinforce themselves end time. Evidence that argues conservatives are higher in personality properties such together closemindedness might also aid explain this reinforcing relationship.

While we show that we have reasons to be concerned around potentially polarizing effects of both liberal and also conservative media, the larger issue is that conservative seem to be living in an ext of a communication bubble than their for free counterparts. Influential conservative media, favor the thriving conservative radio ecosystem, has actually existed in the United claims for much much longer than influential liberal media; therefore, it could be that conservatives simply have actually a head begin in producing these closed communication circles. If free do record up, our capacity to work together together citizens, rather than as opposing ideological combatants, might proceed to diminish.

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Note: This article gives the views of the author, and also not the position of USAPP– American Politics and also Policy, no one of the London college of Economics.

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About the authors 

Jay HmielowskiThe university of FloridaJay Hmielowski is one Assistant Professor in the room of Public relations at the college of Florida. His study interests incorporate environmental, science, and political communication. That is interested in knowledge why various messages are efficient or ineffective at changing people’s attitudes and beliefs associated with assorted environmental, science, and political issues. The is also interested in exactly how people’s attitudes and also beliefs influence their info seeking behaviors.

Myiah HutchensThe college of FloridaMyiah Hutchens is an assistant professor in the department of Public relationships at the university of Florida. Her research interests emphasis on political communication. Specifically, her occupational centers top top how communication functions in democratic processes – that is, to aid or hinder political processes. Her research generally focuses on what leads civilization to look for out diverse perspectives – an especially views castle disagree v – and how individuals then procedure that disagreement.

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Michael BeamKent State UniversityMichael Beam is the director of the college of emerging Media and an innovation at Kent State University. His research study investigates the affect of media solution on the process of info creation, exposure, and also processing. His study has concentrated on the impact of info systems utilizing personalized algorithms ~ above news exposure and also health communication, the influence of partisan media resources on politics polarization and also political details processing, and also how brand-new media systems adjust information circulation patterns.