Hamilton: Politically, are we the news we consume?
Some dieticians like to tell their patients, “You are what you eat.” Well, maybe we are politically what kind of news media we consume. A recent study by the Pew Research Center: Journalism and Media, provides an in-depth examination into which news media are mostly consumed by liberals and which news media are mostly consumed by conservatives.
If we can assume that most people watch, read, or listen to the kind of news media that make them comfortable because it accords with their own political views, then one of the tables in the Pew study may help readers self-identify as either liberals or conservatives.
A revealing table in the study depicts popular new media along a horizontal line from right to left with zero being dead center. On the right or conservative side of the line, Pew found seven commonly available news sources. On the left or liberal side of the line, Pew found 25 commonly available news sources. From that, one might conclude the news sources on the left far outnumber the news sources on the right. We report. You count.
Starting to the right of the zero mark on the right scale, here are listings of what Pew says are conservative news sources in rank order from conservative to very conservative. Closest to the zero mark is Fox News. A bit to the right of Fox News is: Drudge Report. Stacked on top of each other toward the right end of the right scale, are: Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, The Blaze, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck.
Starting just to the left of the zero mark on the left scale, here are listings of what Pew says are liberal news sources in rank order from liberal to very liberal. Closest to the zero mark on the left side are Yahoo News, and Wall Street Journal. A bit more left and stacked on top of each other are: CBS News, Google News, Bloomberg, ABC News, and USA Today. Even more to the left are: NBC News, CNN, and MSNBC. Farther left and stacked on top of each other are: Buzz Feed, PBS, BBC, Huffington Post, Washington Post, The Economist, and Politico. Way more to the left and stacked on top of each other are: New York Times, Colbert Report, NPR, Al Jazeera America, The Guardian, and The Daily Show. And farthest left of all are: The New Yorker, and Slate Magazines.
Granted, in some media markets, only the left-stream media are available. But, assuming you have a choice, consult the listings shown above and pick out your favorite news media. If it is true that we are politically what we watch, read, or listen to, the Pew study might tell us things about our political leanings that we never knew.
If life is supposed to be a voyage of self-discovery, then we might consider Hamlet Act I, Scene 3, in which William Shakespeare has Lord Polonius advise young Laertes as follows: “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not be false to any man…” When true to our own nature, maybe we really are the news we consume.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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