Magazine article USA TODAY

Partisans Not Locked in Media "Echo Chamber"

Magazine article USA TODAY

Partisans Not Locked in Media "Echo Chamber"

Article excerpt

Despite the fears of some scholars and pundits, most political partisans do not avoid news and opinion sources that contradict their own beliefs, according to a study published in Political Behavior In fact, the more that self-described liberals and conservatives visit online sources supportive of their beliefs, the more likely they are to view opposition websites also, as well as general news sites.

"People aren't systematically avoiding websites that challenge their political views," notes R. Kelly Garrett, coauthor of the study. "They certainly are inclined to seek out sources that reinforce their views but, the more they do that, the more likely they are to at least sample sources that challenge their opinion."

While the Internet has given users the opportunity to consume only information that they already agree with, this research suggests people are not doing that. "A conservative who uses conservative news sites is more likely to also view liberal news sites," asserts coauthor Emily Lynch.

The study suggests that about 14% of Americans use ideologically consistent websites--in other words, either conservative or liberal news sites or blogs that tend to support the readers' political world view. …

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