Fox “Democrat” Tamara Holder told Joy Reid this morning that Fox “gets things right” because their viewers really just care about jobs and the economy. Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald was having none of it. “I think her point was ridiculous,” Eichenwald said. “We’re talking about a situation seems like nobody understands what happened –certainly not… Continue Reading →
On Fox News’ Outnumbered, Meghan McCain bashed Trump officials, including Mike Pence for lying to the American people for their repeated denials over meeting with people connected to the Russian government during the campaign. After former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer tried to downplay the Trump Jr. emails that prove a willingness to collude… Continue Reading →
Americans tend to trust local news outlets -including their regional TV stations – more than national news. Even in this era of media consolidation and ideological silos, local television reporters often perform important services and provide vital investigative journalism. Which is why, as John Oliver explains, the increasing control of local TV by outfits like the… Continue Reading →
Because he’s been attacking Trump for months now, I could almost forget the advanced case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome that filters Joe Scarborough’s vision of the world. This morning, he reminded me. “From the very beginning, he’s (Trump) thought if you discuss Russia and discuss what happened during the election, that somehow is casting a shadow… Continue Reading →
Donald Trump may not be winning hearts and minds in his ongoing war with the media, with a recent poll showing more people trust CNN than the president. Trump openly despises CNN and often refers to the network-and many others-as ‘fake news,’ but the majority of people questioned in a poll by Survey Monkey trust information… Continue Reading →
Today’s White House press briefing began with Sarah Huckabee Sanders complaining about reporters’ focus on the Trump-Russia story to a Breitbart reporter, who was her first choice to call upon for a question. As you may imagine, some of the legitimate reporters in the room had objections to that. One piped up right after she finished… Continue Reading →
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 19, 2017
I wondered when one of the White House press corps would buy a clue:
CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta on Monday questioned why he, and the rest of the press corps, bothered showing up.
“I don’t know what world we’re living in right now,” Acosta said on air after White House press secretary Sean Spicer took questions from reporters but didn’t allow video or audio coverage of the exchanges.
“I don’t know why everybody is going along with this,” he added. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me. It just feels like we’re sort of slowly but surely being dragged into a new normal in this country where the president of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions.”
[…] HuffPost asked Acosta how reporters could push back against the White House’s restrictions.
“We should walk out,” he responded.
“There must be collective action or else the stonewalling will continue,” Acosta added.
And all it took was someone asking questions.
Well done, Vox.
Many gallons of ink (and megabytes of electronic text) have been devoted to explaining the surprise victory of Donald Trump.
Reasons range from white working-class resentment, to FBI Director James Comey’s decision to reopen the Hillary Clinton email investigation, to low turnout. All likely played some role. It would be a mistake to think the election turned on one single factor.
However, a study we conducted during the campaign – just published in the Journal of Communication – suggests an additional factor that should be added into the mix: television.
We’re not talking about cable news or the billions in free media given to Trump or political advertising.
Rather, we’re talking about regular, everyday television – the sitcoms, cop shows, workplace dramas and reality TV series that most heavy viewers consume for at least several hours a day – and the effect this might have on your political leanings.
An authoritarian ethos
Studies from the past 40 years have shown that regular, heavy exposure to television can shape your views on violence, gender, science, health, religion, minorities and more.
Meanwhile, 20 years ago, we conducted studies in the U.S. and Argentina that found that the more you watch television, the more likely you’ll embrace authoritarian tendencies and perspectives. Heavy American and Argentinian television viewers have a greater sense of fear, anxiety and mistrust. They value conformity, see the “other” as a threat and are uncomfortable with diversity.
There’s probably a reason for this. Gender, ethnic and racial stereotypes continue to be prevalent in many shows. Television tends to distill complex issues into simpler forms, while the use of violence as an approach to solving problems is glorified. Many fictional programs, from “Hawaii Five-O” to “The Flash,” feature formulaic violence, with a brave hero who protects people from danger and restores the rightful order of things.
In short, television programs often feature an authoritarian ethos when it comes to how characters are valued and how problems are solved.
Viewing habits and Trump support
Given this, we were intrigued when, during the campaign, we saw studies suggesting that holding authoritarian values was a powerful predictor of support for Trump.
We wondered: If watching television contributes to authoritarianism, and if authoritarianism is a driving force behind support for Trump, then might television viewing – indirectly, by way of cultivating authoritarianism – contribute to support for Trump?
About two months before the party conventions were held, we conducted an online national survey with over 1,000 adults. We asked people about their preferred candidate. (At the time, the candidates in the race were Clinton, Sanders and Trump.)
We then questioned them about their television viewing habits – how they consumed it, and how much time they spent watching.
We also asked a series of questions used by political scientists to measure a person’s authoritarian tendencies – specifically, which qualities are more important for a child to have: independence or respect for their elders; curiosity or good manners; self-reliance or obedience; being considerate or being well-behaved. (In each pair, the second answer is considered to reflect more authoritarian values.)
Confirming our own earlier studies, heavy viewers scored higher on the authoritarian scale. And confirming others’ studies, more authoritarian respondents strongly leaned toward Trump.
More importantly, we also found that authoritarianism “mediated” the effect of watching a lot of television on support for Trump. That is, heavy viewing and authoritarianism, taken together in sequence, had a significant relationship with preference for Trump. This was unaffected by gender, age, education, political ideology, race and news viewing.
We’re not the first to note that entertainment can have political consequences. In a Slate article shortly after the election, writer David Canfield argued that prime-time television is filled with programming that is “xenophobic,” “fearmongering,” “billionaire-boosting” and “science-rejecting.” What we think of “harmless prime-time escapism,” he continued, actually “reinforces the exclusionary agenda put forth by the Trump campaign.” Our data reveal that this was not simply speculation.
None of this means that television played the decisive role in the triumph of Donald Trump. But Trump offered a persona that fit perfectly with the authoritarian mindset nurtured by television.
What we think of as “mere entertainment” can have a very real effect on American politics.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 9, 2017