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Hype is a weaponized form of optimism
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Feb. 22, 2022, 1:58 p.m.
Audience & Social

If you’ve found yourself paying less attention to news recently (let’s face it, the news is often depressing), you’re not alone.

A new report from Gallup and the Knight Foundation found that only a third of the Americans polled in December 2021 said that they pay “a great deal” of attention to national news, down from 54% of who said the same when polled in November 2020 (notably, the month of a presidential election).

The most recent poll results were compiled based on surveying more than 4,200 U.S. adults.

And while the trend of news engagement being down was consistent across a range of demographics, the report’s authors found that Democrats younger than 55 were least likely to be paying attention to national news. Compared to the November 2020 poll, there was a 46-point drop in the percentage of Democrats aged 18-34 saying they paid attention to national news. Among 35-54-year-old Democrats surveyed, there was a 41-point drop from November 2020 to December last year.

The report’s authors noted that this is the first time since 2018 (when they started measuring this trend in news attention) that Democrats overall have reported paying less attention to national news than their Republican counterparts. Democrats were more likely to pay attention to news during the Trump administration, just as Republicans tended to pay more attention during the Obama presidency.

However, Republicans also report a small decrease in how much attention they pay to national news, a trend that the report authors suggest may be because of the constant news about Covid-19 or general news burnout.

The large drop among Democrats, according to the authors, could also be explained by these factors, but their interest in news back in November 2020 saw an “uncharacteristic spike in attention,” possibly because of the presidential election and the “frenzy” that ensued as then-President Trump worked to contest the election’s results.

At the same time, the report didn’t find much of a change in the percentage of respondents who said they paid a “great deal” of attention to local or international news. (That number for local news is 21% and for international news is 12%).

Check out the full report here.

Photo of person reading a newspaper by Roman Craft is being used under a Unsplash License.

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