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June 5, 2018, 11:49 a.m.
LINK: www.pewresearch.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   June 5, 2018

Let’s start by saying that pretty much everyone is exhausted by the news: 68 percent of Americans are “feeling overwhelmed by the amount of news there is,” according to a new Pew survey. But the figure is even higher among Republicans (77 percent of those surveyed are overwhelmed), people who don’t follow news closely/say they follow the news “only when something important is happening,” and white people: “Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of white Americans express fatigue with the amount of news, much higher than among both Hispanic (55 percent) and black Americans (55 percent).”

This appears to have flipped somewhat since Reuters asked about news avoidance (a cousin of news fatigue) in 2017. At that point nearly a year ago, Reuters found, U.S. readers on the left were more likely to avoid news than readers on the right. Fifty-seven percent of U.S. respondents said their main reason for avoiding news was that “it can have a negative effect on my mood,” and 35 percent said “I can’t rely on news to be true.” (A new Reuters report comes out next week and may have updated figures on this.)

Some questions/thoughts:

— It would seem to make intuitive sense that, if things are going badly for the political party that you identify with, then you’ll be more likely to tune out the news. (Unless you fear-read — but maybe that’s more of a news junkie behavior?) Also, Trump’s approval ratings have been ticking up since February when Pew ran this survey; how does that interact with the finding that Republicans are also more tired of the news?

— What’s going on with white people? Why are they so much more tired of the news than people of color? There seems to be so much psychology involved here. Do people avoid news when they feel guilty, for instance? If everything is presented as terrible, do people just tune out? Are white people more likely to tune out? There is a lot to unpack here and I want to know more, more, more.

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