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Being skeptical of sources is a journalist’s job — but it doesn’t always happen when those sources are the police
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Feb. 22, 2021, 12:04 p.m.
LINK: www.journalism.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Sarah Scire   |   February 22, 2021

About one in four Democrats and Republicans turn exclusively to news sources with like-minded audiences, a new report has found.

The findings are part of a larger project by the Pew Research Center to track the news habits of Americans, along with their opinions about what they read, hear, and see. Throughout, Pew has consistently found that Americans hold dramatically different views about the election, the Covid-19 pandemic, and journalism depending on their sources of news and information.

The analysis released today points to one reason for the divide. About a quarter of Republicans (24%) and Democrats (25%) “consistently” turned to what Pew describes as “partisan news media bubbles.”

The research is based on three surveys and Pew defines Republicans who exclusively used sources with right-leaning audiences and Democrats who exclusively used sources with left-leaning audiences in two or more of those surveys as “consistently” turning to media bubbles. Fox News and talk radio were among the sources with a right-leaning audience. Outlets with left-leaning audiences included CNN, MSNBC, and The Washington Post. Network TV news — like ABC, CBS, or NBC — were ID’d as sources with a mixed audience.

The researchers found that the Republicans who stuck to their partisan bubbles tended to be much older than those that relied on outlets with left-leaning audiences or a mix of publications. About 80% of the Republicans who stuck to their partisan bubbles were older than 50, including 44% older than 65.

Democrats who get their political news only from outlets with left-leaning audiences were more likely to be white and have college degrees. Democrats who consistently turned to outlets with mixed or right-leaning audiences were more likely to be Black (29%) or Hispanic (21%).

You can read the full report — “How Americans Navigated the News in 2020: A Tumultuous Year in Review” — at the Pew Research Center.

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