Study Finds 'Huge Difference' In Media Habits Of Liberals And Conservatives

Samantha Kilgore

Although most liberals and conservatives can agree that there are some major inconsistencies and problems with the so-called "mainstream media," it seems as though the two groups have very different ways of dealing with it. As with their political views, liberals and conservatives are sharply divided on which news sources they trust, according to a recent study of media habits done by the Pew Research Center.

Liberals tend to favor sources such as CNN, MSNBC, National Public Radio (NPR), and The New York Times. However, none of these sources are favored dramatically over the others. In fact, of the 36 sources respondents were questioned about, liberals trusted 28 of them, with CNN being named as the main news source for 15 percent, followed by NPR at 13 percent, 12 percent for MSNBC and 10 percent for The New York Times.

Conservatives, on the other hand, have an overwhelming favorite when it comes to a news source they view as being trustworthy. According to the report, 47 percent of those judged as "most conservative" in the study cited Fox News as their favorite. No other news source was even close to this -- coming in at second was local radio, at a mere 11 percent. A majority of conservatives in the study said they distrusted two-thirds of the news sources within the study.

In addition to the Fox News Channel, there were only five other sources that conservatives said they found trustworthy: The Wall Street Journal, The Blaze, Breitbart, the Drudge Report, and radio shows hosted by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck.

Conservatives are more likely to distrust news sources that don't reflect their point of view, the study said.

"One of the things that was striking was the degree of the differences and the consistency across all the different information environments," said Amy Mitchell, Pew's director of journalism research.

The only consensus between liberals and conservatives was The Wall Street Journal as a source trusted by majorities of both strong liberal and conservatives, while both groups agreed that Buzzfeed was an untrustworthy news source.

As far as social media goes, the study shows that conservatives usually have more friends who actually share their political views, and are also more likely to read material on Facebook that simply reinforces their opinions. Liberals, on the other hand, are actually more likely to "defriend" someone, either on Facebook or actual real life, because of differences in political views.

Despite the difference in media usage between liberals and conservatives, Mitchell said the survey concludes that "it's really impossible to live in a true silo." No matter what the most trusted media source may be, opinions different that one's own will always "seep through" in some way, whether through online usage, actual conversations, or media consumption.

As for people deemed "true moderates," CNN was listed as the most favored news source at 20 percent, followed by local TV.

Oddly enough, there is one thing that liberals and conservatives overwhelmingly agree on... click here to read more on that.

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