Politics & Government

Partisan divide extends to how liberals and conservatives get their news, study finds

Liberals and conservatives isolate themselves in separate bubbles when it comes to where they get their news about politics and government.

A new Pew Research Center study found that the two groups gravitate to news sources that each feel reaffirms their political views.

In the study, 47 percent of consistent conservatives cite Fox News as their main source for political and government news and expressed distrust of 24 of the 36 news sources Pew measured in the survey. Fox News ranked the highest among consistent conservatives at 88 percent.

By comparison, consistent liberals have a wider diet of news sources – 15 percent to CNN, 13 percent to NPR, 12 percent to MSNBC and 10 percent to The New York Times.

‘That those who express consistently conservative or consistently liberal opinions have different ways of informing themselves about politics and government is not surprising,’ the study said. ‘But the depth of these divisions – and the differences between those who have strong ideological views and those who do not – are striking.’

While conservatives trust fewer news outlets, liberals trust more – 28 out of the 36 measured in the survey. NPR, PBS and the BBC are among the most trusted outlets among the group.

Consistent conservatives, when on Facebook, are more likely than other ideological groups to hear political opinions that are in line with their own views, the study found. Consistent liberals are more likely than other ideological groups to block or ‘defriend’ someone from a social network – and end even a personal friendship – because of politics.

The study, however, found that liberals and conservatives have at least on thing in common: They follow government and political news more closely than other groups. About 39 percent of consistent conservatives and 30 percent of consistent liberals tend to drive political discussions and say that others tend to turn to them for information.

Among people with mixed ideological views, only 12 percent said they filled that role, according to the study.