What makes Facebook so popular and addicting is that you’re constantly inundated with news, ads, and information about things you like, agree with, and are highly interested in.
The BlueFeed RedFeed study report by the Wall Street Journal shows how polarized and polarizing today’s news sources are. Anyone not purposefully seeking news from a variety of sources will just get news tailored to support their pre-existing belief system.
Social media is not programmed to give us a mixture of news sources. People typically don’t want to read anything that would challenge their own beliefs system. Instead, we want our existing believes reinforced, so we surround ourselves with people who think like we do and support what we believe. With social media, increasingly we’re becoming a product of how we are being programmed to believe.
The video below is a discussion about the study. You can read more about the study and use the interactive tool on the Wall Street Journal. From a little further digging, the list of liberal and conservative sources are provided below.
If a person avoids extremist, sensationalized, radical, and highly biased sources, and instead finds a mix of news sources that are more toward the center, they can possibly be better informed. It’s important to be aware of what’s said by extreme news sources because that shapes the views of may in our society, but one shouldn’t use these sources as their primary means of being informed.
It can be helpful to use biased media as a kind of news radar. Stories that might not appear among liberal media may show up in conservative media.
For example, stories critical of Hillary Clinton will be more likely to show up in conservative sources. Among those stories some will be completely false, some will be partly true, and some will be almost entirely true. To find out, you can do some more research into the story. Similarly, among the stories about Donald Trump offered by liberal media some will be completely false, some will be partly true, and some will be almost entirely true. For an example of this, read “Eleven major news stories that the media got wrong about Donald Trump — and why you should care.” It’s important that our views are based on what is completely true.
Liberal media will have extended talks and interviews with Hillary Clinton, but only selective soundbites from Donald Trump designed to make him appear offensive. Similarly, conservative media will have lengthy interviews and uncut videos of Trump’s speeches, but only sound bites from Hillary Clinton designed to make her look undesirable.
This year we have an interesting phenomenon where the conservative media is being very supportive of progressives such as Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein because they are viewed as helpful in eroding Hillary Clinton’s base, so you can get some very good progressive news from Fox (for example) with extended interviews with Jill Stein, whereas the liberal Democrat-serving media will mostly marginalize Jill Stein as they have Bernie Sanders.
Because of this, a person really needs to piece together the truth from multiple sources.
Liberal News Sources
Conservative News Sources