- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Political differences are pronounced when it comes to choice of news sources. Conservatives remain fiercely loyal to Fox News, liberals sidle up to National Public Radio and The New York Times. Ideology plays a pronounced role in the phenomenon, according to an extensive new survey and analysis of “political divisiveness” among Americans released by the Pew Research Center.

“When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust,” the research said.

Overall, it found that consistent conservatives are “tightly clustered around a single news source,” far more than any other group in the survey, with 47 percent citing Fox News as their main source for news on government and politics.

Conservatives also distrust 24 of the 36 news sources that were measured in the survey. At the same time, 88 percent said they trusted Fox News.

On Facebook, conservatives are the most likely stick with those whose political opinions are in line with their own views. More are also likely to have friends who share their own political views: 66 percent say most of their close friends share their views on government and politics.

By contrast, those with consistently liberal views are “less unified in their media loyalty”; they rely on a greater range of news outlets the survey found, including some - like NPR and the New York Times - that others use far less.

Liberals are more trusting about their news sources. They do, in fact, trust 28 of the 36 news outlets in the survey. NPR, PBS and the BBC are the most trusted news sources among liberals. A majority - 52 percent - also say their close acquaintances share their political views.

There is some commonalities between the two factions, however. Both conservatives and liberals revel in politics, and it shapes their personal lives.

Both sides are “much more likely than others to closely follow news about the government and political news. Nearly four-in-ten consistent conservatives (39 percent) and 30 percent of consistent liberals tend to drive political discussions - that is, they talk about politics often, say others tend to turn to them for information rather than the reverse, and describe themselves as leaders rather than listeners in these kinds of conversations,” the study states.

The findings were based on a survey of 2,901 U.S. adults conducted throughout March and April; the analysis was released Tuesday.

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