Home > Uncategorized > Blog 7: Psychological aspects of Partisanship and Choosing News Media

Blog 7: Psychological aspects of Partisanship and Choosing News Media

As I talked about in Tuesday‘s post, I don’t think objective media is plausible; bias media will always be around and it’s time for us to accept that subjectivity comes naturally with informed research.  Regardless, citizens tend to view media in line with their own beliefs, whether it’s good or not.  With so many media outlets, citizens have to search for their own news; naturally, they’ll go toward their own beliefs.   

Watching partisan-oriented news comes from our “perceptual screen”; you hear what you what to hear and block out the news out-of-line with your partisan beliefs.  Innately, we don’t want to be told our views are wrong, so we’ll quickly turn away from opposing opinions.  Reinforcement is key!

Selective perception means that we perceive things according to our own partisan beliefs – a liberal person would be easily turned off by the conservative Fox News, as a stark Republican wouldn’t want to pick up a liberal New York Times.

Yes, this doesn’t promote openness to other ideas and Americans become more polarized to their own opinions.  Even if we view other partisan channels and media outlets, we will have selective recall – remembering those facts that support our own opinion.  We cannot be fully informed to all points of view, but there’s no way to find complete, objective media.  It’s not good or bad, it’s inevitable in my point of view.

Cognitive dissonance confuses us - we like our ideas to be reinforced

For a great example of cognitive dissonance inthe news, check out the following article about the “Baby Joseph” case in Canada and how the right-wing media has portrayed it.

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