New research shows what anyone living for more than five minutes was already well aware of, that cable news the networks are biased, and this bias has increased much more pronounced over the past ten years, especially after the election of Donald Trump.

The study, which has just been published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, is titled “Measuring Dynamic Media Bias”. The level of network bias was based on guest appearances.

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How the study was conducted

Researchers looked at who came to networks like the Fox News, CNN and MSNBCas guests for more than 10 hours between January 2010 and August 2020. These guests were rated on a bias scale based on their political views.

The bias scale, dubbed “visibility bias” by researchers, showed what’s been apparent to most Americans for years. Fox News was more right-wing, and CNN and MSNBC were more left-wing. However, this visibility bias also determined, based on the guest list, that CNN programs like “Anderson Cooper 360” and “CNN Tonight” were even more liberal than MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

Those who conducted the study noticed what they thought was an interesting detail. Although Fox News has always been more conservative than CNN or MSNBC, at some point during the period studied, CNN seemed a bit more conservative than MSNBC. After 2015, however, researchers say that changed.

While each network catered to a more conservative or liberal audience, the ideological orientation of the three networks became more definitive in 2016.

Yphtach Lelkes is an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communication and one of the study’s co-authors. He explained, “For many years, Fox News was to the right of MSNBC and CNN, but they followed each other. When Fox moved right, so did MSNBC and CNN. They all sank together. After Trump took office, they reacted to current events by drifting away from each other and more strongly toward their respective ideologies.

The Great Disconnect

What is also becoming more pronounced is the disconnect between those who report the news and the average viewer who watches it. The Political Insider reported in June that a Pew Research Center poll found that 65% of reporters believed they were doing a decent and accurate job reporting the news.

That is not what a large part of the American people think. Only 35% said journalists actually did their job the right way. Of the five different areas of journalistic integrity surveyed, journalists gave a boost to their overall performance. The public who read, listen and watch, on the other hand, gave them a big boost.

In April, during a question-and-answer session on a University of Chicago forum titled “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy,” CNN’s Brian Stelter was part of a panel to which students asked questions. Questions.

It was freshman Christopher Phillips who gave those who heard his question at Stelter hope for future generations. He addressed Stelter’s implication that Fox News was the sole purveyor of disinformation and listed a series of, what turned out to be false stories, that were pushed by CNN. Phillips then asked about the money.

“All the mainstream media mistakes, in particular, seem to magically go in one direction,” Phillips said. “Are we supposed to believe this is all just some kind of random coincidence or is there something else behind it?

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Death of journalism?

For many cable news viewers, Professor Lelkes and his colleagues have only been verifying what they have long known to be true. In fact, they have the date – 2016.

It was then New York media columnist Jim Rutenberg, who said that when covering then-candidate Donald Trump, his fellow reporters were essentially justified in breaking every journalistic rule of objectivity they had been taught. The reason why, because Trump was a Republican, and therefore, the enemy.

Even now, names like Joy Reid, Lester Holt, and Don Lemon have said things like conservatives and Republicans being a threat to freedom, fairness is overrated, and that “Republicans are doing something that’s very dangerous to our company and we have to recognize it. »

This study may be trying to blame Donald Trump and the 2016 election for more obvious bias among cable news networks, but average Americans who knew it was there all along thank Trump for checking it out. .

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