Show Details

Like-Minded Media

June 30, 2009

People really do seek out news coverage that confirms their own beliefs.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
The media as a mirror. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

When it comes to political news, we want to be validated, not challenged. This according to a study by Ohio State University communications professor Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick. Her team assessed volunteers’ political opinions. Weeks later, they gave them a chance to read online articles with obvious political slants. Tracking software showed that they clicked more on articles that echoed their own views, and spent more time reading them. Knobloch-Westerwick says this differed from past studies, which simply asked people what they read or watched.

SILVIA KNOBLOCH-WESTERWICK (Ohio State University):
And the earlier research couldn’t show that people prefer messages that confirm their attitudes.

HIRSHON:
She says that’s probably because people like to think they’re more interested in opposing views than they actually are. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.