Did You Know?
Most Americans mix it up when it comes to news consumption
Good news when it comes to worries about echo chambers and filter bubbles (that is, the fear that people tune in only to viewpoints they agree with): Most Americans say they read, watch and listen to a mix of liberal and conservative news.
That’s according to a 2017 Gallup poll, published in American Views: Trust, Media And Democracy. a 2018 report (PDF download) from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The exact statistic: 71% of Americans report receiving a mix of liberal and conservative news.
(An asterisk to consider before continuing: Those who were queried got to decide whether an outlet was “liberal” or “conservative.” As the report put it, “The slightly greater reliance on liberal sources may be based on the perceptions that more news sources are left-leaning than right-leaning.”)
Respondents were asked “How much of the news you read or watch comes from news organizations that are generally liberal in their point of view?” and “How much of the news you read or watch comes from news organizations that are generally conservative in their point of view?”
Almost half (46%) of Democrats said that they got “most” of their news from liberal sources, and 42% said they got “some” from conservative sources.
Of Republicans, 37% said they got “most” of their news from conservative sources. The same percentage said they got “some” of their news from conservative sources. Almost a quarter (22%) said they got “most” of their news from liberal sources.
Then there are the 16% who get all or most of their news from liberal sources (and little or none from conservative sources), and the 12% who get all or most of their news from conservative sources (and little or none from liberal sources). In other words, more than a quarter (28%) admit to getting news from only one perspective.
But the smart habits of the 71% show in one other finding from the poll: 60% of all respondents say they believe that it is a “major problem” for people to choose only news sources that share their own views.
Results of the 2017 Gallup/Knight Foundation Survey on Trust, Media and Democracy are based on mail interviews collected between Aug. 4 and Oct. 2, 2017, from 19,196 adults, ages 18+, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.