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mtsuchiya

Politics: Bias in the Media

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I am going investigate a "chicken or the egg"question.

 

Do people watch a certain newsstation due to prior political beliefs or do viewers gain political beliefsfrom watching that particular news station.

 

For example, do conservatives watch FOX News because it is more tailoredto their pre-set beliefs, or do viewers become more conservative because theywatch FOX News?

 

I just don't know how to conduct the experiment itself. What methods can I use to measure beliefs andhow to I keep track?

 

Any assistance is very much appreciated! Thank you for your time!

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Like most things, I'm sure it's a combination, but I doubt people will admit that what they watch biases them that much. People are reluctant to admit that advertising affects the way they purchase. They mostly insist that they weigh the pros and cons and make an informed choice, when the truth is they've usually already made up their mind in the first 6 seconds and then use rationalizations to justify their purchases. It's probably the same way with political persuasion.

 

Polls can be twisted easily, so that's not a great device to use. What if you exposed them to some unraveled stories, the kind that tend to make you change your stance as you learn more about the story? Are you familiar with the Baltimore Needle Program of the mid 90s? They started giving free needles to addicts who turned in dirty needles and conservatives freaked out. Then it was proven (and reported) that the program actually helped an STD epidemic they were having and suddenly the conservatives were OK with it. Then it was found out that some people were collecting bags full of dirty needles, swapping them for free clean needles and selling them to the addicts for a buck each. Now the conservatives were really in an uproar. Then it was pointed out (and reported) that these guys were finding the addicts who were too wasted to find the mobile needle clinics and actually improved the distribution system at no extra cost to the taxpayers. They went on to use these guys to hand out pamphlets on drug rehab and the whole thing was hailed as a great success.

 

If you could get people to change their initial conservative stance on the subject of the government handing out free needles to drug addicts, you could prove that people can be learn from the media rather than just have their beliefs confirmed.

 

Shell Oil in Nigeria is another good unraveled story that starts from a conservative perspective.

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