cnn, fox news, echo chambers

CNN host Anderson Cooper and Tucker Carlson of Fox News.

The prevailing logic in today’s political world is that polarization is worsening because people live in media echo chambers where they are only exposed to outlets that mirror their views.

People who live in echo chambers come to distrust any opinions that exist outside of their bubbles and when they're not exposed to any conflicting information. This creates a scenario where the person becomes increasingly entrenched in their worldview.

One would assume that after a person becomes fully entrenched in an echo chamber they have little chance of changing their views. However, a new working paper by researchers at Stanford and Yale universities has found that when people are removed from their bubbles there’s a chance they’ll change their minds.

David Broockman of Stanford and Joshua Kalla of Yale conducted a study where they paid regular Fox News viewers $15 an hour to watch CNN for around seven hours a week for a month. The researchers then surveyed them about their political beliefs and knowledge of current events.


The study is titled “The manifold effects of partisan media on viewers’ beliefs and attitudes: A field experiment with Fox News viewers.” The research was done in fall 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and lead-up to the presidential election.

When the participants were polled, researchers found that they were 5 percentage points more likely to believe that people suffer from long COVID, 6 points more likely to believe that other countries did a better job of controlling the virus and 7 points more likely to support voting by mail.

“CNN provided extensive coverage of COVID-19, which included information about the severity of the COVID-19 crisis and poor aspects of Trump’s performance handling COVID-19. Fox News covered COVID-19 much less,” said the study.

After the Fox viewers switched to CNN, it changed their opinions on the social justice protests happening at the time as well. The switchers were 10 points less likely to think that Biden supporters were happy when police got shot and 13 points less likely to believe that if Biden gets elected “we’ll see many more police get shot by Black Lives Matter activists.”

Many of the participants also realized that when it came to Trump, they weren’t getting the whole story. After switching to a steady diet of CNN they were less likely to agree that “if Donald Trump did something bad, Fox News would discuss it.”

“Despite regular Fox viewers being largely strong partisans, we found manifold effects of changing the slant of their media diets on their factual beliefs, attitudes, perceptions of issues’ importance, and overall political views,” the authors of the study said.

The study shows that Fox News isn’t just a media outlet that affirms its viewers' worldviews, it also feeds them a distorted version of reality that pushes them toward more extreme opinions. The good news is that some of these people can be changed when exposed to better information.

It should also be noted that Fox News viewers aren’t the only ones living in information bubbles and that there are plenty of ideological traps that ensnare people on the left as well.

The study should give everyone hope that all is not lost and that America’s political divide may not be impossible to bridge.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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