Saturday, May 06, 2006

Study: Fox News May Have Been Responsible For Bush's 2000 Election

Is it possible that Fox News got President Bush elected in 2000? According to a new study, the answer is yes. I bring this up not to get political on you, but to make a point. However, first, here's the story which got me thinking about the issue of how a radio communicator can be relevant without being either Steven Colbert OR Bill O'Reilly:

Factoring out other influences, Fox News alone may have influenced enough voters--including more than 10,000 in the pivotal state of Florida--to have put Bush into the White House. "Our estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3 to 8 percent of its audience to shift its voting behavior towards the Republican Party, a sizable media persuasion effect," says Stefano DellaVigna of the University of California at Berkeley and Ethan Kaplan of StockholmUniversity, who conducted the study. To check out the possibility that Fox News has that kind of persuasive clout, Rick Morin of The Washington Post ran his own experiment to check out what he calls the Fox News Effect. What he discovered was "strong evidence that people apply a political litmus test to the news, avoiding sources they view as unfriendly while seeking out compatible sources."

First, ask me if I am surprised. What's next? Another study to find out why so many Americans incorrectly believed that Saddam had a direct connection to 9/11? Meanwhile, Fox News and their friends will probably dismiss this study - merely because it appears in the Post, I assume. These are strange times, indeed, when the perceived viewpoint of the messenger may be more important than the message. So, how about YOU? Are you "Fair and balanced" or "The Last Reporter Standing"? If you, like me, would rather be somewhere in between them, is there any hope of being seen as relevant by both sides? Or, is the only way to be entertaining and "credible" to pick a side and alienate some folks? I sure hope not.

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