A study that paid viewers of the rightwing cable network to switch shed light on the media’s influence on people’s views

Given the steady stream of misinformation an avid Fox News consumer is subjected to, the viewers – predominantly elderlywhite and Donald Trump-supporting – are sometimes written off as lost causes by Democrats and progressives, but according to a new study, there is still hope.

In an unusual, and labor intensive, project, two political scientists paid a group of regular Fox News viewers to instead watch CNN for a month. At the end of the period, the researchers found surprising results; some of the Fox News watchers had changed their minds on a range of key issues, including the US response to coronavirus and Democrats’ attitude to police.

The findings suggest that political perspectives can be changed – but also reveals the influence partisan media has on viewers’ ideology.

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