The Devil You Know Is Better: News Edition

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For years there has been a constant grumble, which raises to a strident squeal in election cycles, about how people today only seek out news that reaffirms their own views. A related, more troubling worry is that as people consume this reaffirming news, they are under the impression that it is full of unbiased, non-partisan facts. But survey results on the Internet and the 2010 campaign, out today from Pew, give us hope that the latter isn’t really a concern — and evidence, if we needed it, that the former is happening.

When asked whether they usually consume news that shares their point of view, differs from it or has no point of view, the majority of both Democrats and Republicans said they sought out like-minded news. Sizable chunks of both groups also said they sought out news that differed, leaving only about 25% of the news consumers believing that they were frequenting unbiased sources.

For my money, there would ideally be many more unbiased sources out there to choose from — and more people willing to seek them out — but so long as consumers are getting slanted coverage, it seems reassuring that they know it’s slanted.

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