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Like-Minded Media

June 30, 2009

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


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.

And the earlier research couldn’t show that people prefer messages that confirm their attitudes.

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.