Posted By Levi
James Fallows points to an interesting new report on how Fox News is causing great harm to the Republican party. What is even more interesting is that the report was written by Bruce Barlett, a veteran Republican who served in the Regan and Bush 41 administrations and also worked for Ron Paul.
The whole report is here. A few highlights.
With the creation of Fox News in 1996
. . . Conservatives did not have to seek out bits of news favorable to their point of view in liberal publications or in small magazines and newsletters. Like someone dying of thirst in the desert, conservatives drank heavily from the Fox waters. Soon, it became the dominant – and in many cases, virtually the only – major news source for millions of Americans. This has had profound political implications that are only starting to be appreciated. Indeed, it can almost be called self-brainwashing – many conservatives now refuse to even listen to any news or opinion not vetted through Fox, and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth.
According to Barlett, Fox’s core viewers are factually worse-informed than people who follow other sources, and even those who don’t follow news at all.
Republican voters get so much of their news from Fox, which cheerleads whatever their candidates are doing or saying, that they suffer from wishful thinking and fail to see that they may not be doing as well as they imagine, or that their ideas are not connecting outside the narrow party base. As a recent academic study found: ‘Exposure to programs featured on Fox News, such as those hosted by Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, resulted in a greater wishful thinking effect by Romney supporters.
‘Fox has now become a problem for the Republican Party because it keeps a far right base mobilized and angry, making it hard for the party to move to the center or increase its appeal, as it must do to remain electorally competitive….One of the reasons Mitt Romney was so unable to pivot back to the center was due to the drumbeat at Fox, which contributed to forcing him to the right during the primary season.’