posts about or somewhat related to ‘partisanship’

Conservatives, Liberals and the News
A new Pew Research study exploring US political polarization neatly captures what’s long been known: political partisans occupy filter bubbles with their own distinct set of news sources.
Some takeaways. "Consistent" conservatives:
Are tightly clustered around a single news source, far more than any other group in the survey, with 47% citing Fox News as their main source for news about government and politics.
Express greater distrust than trust of 24 of the 36 news sources measured in the survey. At the same time, fully 88% of consistent conservatives trust Fox News.
Are, when on Facebook, more likely than those in other ideological groups to hear political opinions that are in line with their own views.
Are more likely to have friends who share their own political views. Two-thirds (66%) say most of their close friends share their views on government and politics.
On the other side of the spectrum, "consistent" liberals:
Are less unified in their media loyalty; they rely on a greater range of news outlets, including some – like NPR and the New York Times– that others use far less.
Express more trust than distrust of 28 of the 36 news outlets in the survey. NPR, PBS and the BBC are the most trusted news sources for consistent liberals.
Are more likely than those in other ideological groups to block or “defriend” someone on a social network – as well as to end a personal friendship – because of politics.
Are more likely to follow issue-based groups, rather than political parties or candidates, in their Facebook feeds.
Is there any common ground? Just a bit. Both consistent conservatives and consistent liberals follow governmental and political news more closely than other groups.
Pew identifies five ideological groups in the study: consistent liberals, mostly liberals, mixed, mostly conservatives and consistent conservatives. While those in the ideological middle expose themselves to the widest variety of information sources, they do not focus on politics as often as partisan news consumers which Pew reports is about 20% of the country.
Pew Research, Political Polarization & Media Habits.
Image: Primary news sources for liberals and conservatives, via Pew (PDF)

Conservatives, Liberals and the News

A new Pew Research study exploring US political polarization neatly captures what’s long been known: political partisans occupy filter bubbles with their own distinct set of news sources.

Some takeaways. "Consistent" conservatives:

  • Are tightly clustered around a single news source, far more than any other group in the survey, with 47% citing Fox News as their main source for news about government and politics.
  • Express greater distrust than trust of 24 of the 36 news sources measured in the survey. At the same time, fully 88% of consistent conservatives trust Fox News.
  • Are, when on Facebook, more likely than those in other ideological groups to hear political opinions that are in line with their own views.
  • Are more likely to have friends who share their own political views. Two-thirds (66%) say most of their close friends share their views on government and politics.

On the other side of the spectrum, "consistent" liberals:

  • Are less unified in their media loyalty; they rely on a greater range of news outlets, including some – like NPR and the New York Times– that others use far less.
  • Express more trust than distrust of 28 of the 36 news outlets in the survey. NPR, PBS and the BBC are the most trusted news sources for consistent liberals.
  • Are more likely than those in other ideological groups to block or “defriend” someone on a social network – as well as to end a personal friendship – because of politics.
  • Are more likely to follow issue-based groups, rather than political parties or candidates, in their Facebook feeds.

Is there any common ground? Just a bit. Both consistent conservatives and consistent liberals follow governmental and political news more closely than other groups.

Pew identifies five ideological groups in the study: consistent liberals, mostly liberals, mixed, mostly conservatives and consistent conservatives. While those in the ideological middle expose themselves to the widest variety of information sources, they do not focus on politics as often as partisan news consumers which Pew reports is about 20% of the country.

Pew Research, Political Polarization & Media Habits.

Image: Primary news sources for liberals and conservatives, via Pew (PDF)

A House Divided
A lobbying firm took data from the National Journal’s annual congressional voter ratings to compare liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. From top to bottom, we have 1982 to 2013.
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza attributes the polarization to redistricting, with the parties effectively creating safe voting districts. But, as he points out, the Senate is equally partisan:

More intriguing — and harder to explain — is how the middle has dropped out of the Senate, which is not subject to redistricting. Because senators represent entire states, self-sorting should be less powerful…
…[M]ore than half of the Senate fit between the most liberal Republican and the most conservative Democrat in 1982. For the last two years, there has not been a single Republican with a more liberal voting record than any Democrat and not a single Democrat with a more conservative voting record than any Republican. Not one.

Cillizza does the math: In 1982, 75 percent of congress fell into an ideological middle. Today, .7 percent does. Read through for the rest and to view the Senate chart.

A House Divided

A lobbying firm took data from the National Journal’s annual congressional voter ratings to compare liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. From top to bottom, we have 1982 to 2013.

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza attributes the polarization to redistricting, with the parties effectively creating safe voting districts. But, as he points out, the Senate is equally partisan:

More intriguing — and harder to explain — is how the middle has dropped out of the Senate, which is not subject to redistricting. Because senators represent entire states, self-sorting should be less powerful…

…[M]ore than half of the Senate fit between the most liberal Republican and the most conservative Democrat in 1982. For the last two years, there has not been a single Republican with a more liberal voting record than any Democrat and not a single Democrat with a more conservative voting record than any Republican. Not one.

Cillizza does the math: In 1982, 75 percent of congress fell into an ideological middle. Today, .7 percent does. Read through for the rest and to view the Senate chart.

Journalism and Democracy

In this video, CUNY Professor CW Anderson imagines the future of journalism and its changing place in democracy. Partisan reporting, Anderson says, will thrive alongside some big names from today – like, say, the New York Times – to serve as news for the educated and the upper class. Will this reflect itself the democracy we live in? Anderson conjures up images of old torchlight parades and globalization, the Clinton impeachment and political apathy to remind us that democracy isn’t unchanging but is influenced by its press, its time, and what its citizens think of themselves.

FJP: Heavy stuff! See our first video with Chris here, and expect more from our interview with him soon.

Far from being an outlier, Roger Ailes fits snugly in an American tradition of partisan and skeezy journalism. As the owner and captain of his own media empire, William Randolph Hearst bent the news to suit his political ambitions for five decades. His vilification of President Franklin D. Roosevelt makes Fox News’ harassment of President Obama look like patty-cake. Robert R. McCormick, owner and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, ran headlines like “Moscow Orders Reds in U.S. to Back Roosevelt.”

The tradition of an American media owner or boss pushing a candidate or a cause is so firmly ensconced in journalistic history that the true outlier is the mogul who plays it completely straight. Walter Annenberg used his Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News to smear opponents and reward his political friends, facts be damned. The Manchester Union Leader’s William Loeb (subscription required) hammered liberal Democrats as “left-wing kooks” and called President John Kennedy “the No. 1 liar in the United States.” Nelson Rockefeller, in Loeb’s eyes, was a “wife-swapper,” and President Dwight Eisenhower was a “stinking hypocrite.”

Jack Shafer, Slate. Who’s Afraid of Roger Ailes? Rolling Stone and New York magazine publish dueling takes on Fox News Channel Chairman Roger Ailes.

The Rolling Stone article is a long read (about 10,000 words).

The New York magazine one is less long (about 6,400 words).

Both are interesting explorations of Ailes and the Fox News operation. File under: Weekend Reading. And if you only have time for one, head Schafer’s advice, “If you enjoy a scary nighttime story, read Dickinson’s [Rolling Stone] piece. But if your tastes run toward political comedy, click on Sherman’s.”

The decline of traditional media and the rise of viral emails and partisan Web and cable TV platforms has meant the near-collapse of common facts, believed across the political spectrum.

There was a logic in allowing impartial broadcasters to have a monopoly of the broadcasting space. But in the future, maybe there should be a broad range of choices? Why shouldn’t the public be able to see and hear, as well as read, a range of opinionated journalism and then make up their own mind what they think about it?

The BBC and Channel 4 have a history of clearly labelled polemical programmes. But why not entire polemical channels which have got stronger opinions? I find the argument persuasive.

— Mark Thompson, Director General of BBC News, speaking at a Whitehall seminar on impartiality in broadcasting.