The Foxification of the Republican Party

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Pew has one of their regular surveys of media consumption out today, and it has lots of interesting tidbits. Newspaper and radio news continue to decline, online news continues to prosper (in terms of audience, if not profitability), Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity appeal mostly to old people, and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are the most popular destinations for in-depth reporting.

But the most interesting chart in the report is one showing how cable news viewing habits have changed since 2000:

  • Democrats: -3% (Fox), +1% (CNN), +3% (MSNBC)
  • Independents: +3% (Fox), -2% (CNN), 0 (MSNBC)
  • Republicans:
    +22% (Fox),
    -9% (CNN),
    -6% (MSNBC)

In other words, Democrats and Independents have changed their viewing habits only slightly while Republicans have flocked to Fox and dropped both CNN and MSNBC in droves. Back in 2000, it turns out, the viewing habits of all three groups were pretty similar. Since then, as Fox has steadily amped up its conservative branding, conservatives have decided that’s all they want to hear. The echo chamber must be getting pretty deafening over there.

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