Political Polarization and Media Habits in the United States

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The information from this infographic was derived from a study, Political Polarization and Media Habits, done by Pew Research Center in October 2014. The graphics of the elephant, “Republican,” and the donkey, “Democrat,” were created by Yi Chen from the Noun Project.

I chose to focus on this particular information for my infographic because it demonstrates how Americans’ perception of politics and government has been polarized due to trust or distrust of information presented by different news outlets.

The two outlets which people said they relied on most often for news were Fox News with 14 percent and CNN with 16 percent. The trust levels of CNN and Fox News were polarized based on people’s political ideology.

This study found that the 88 percent of conservatives trust Fox News, and that 47 percent of consistent conservatives rely on Fox News as their main source of news. Consistent conservatives’ other main source of news were local radio with 11 percent and local TV with five percent.

Eighty-one percent of consistent liberals distrusted Fox News, and 54 percent of mostly liberals were distrusted Fox News.

This study found that no news outlet dominates liberals’ choice of news outlet like how Fox News dominates for the conservatives. Fifteen percent of consistent liberals use CNN for their main source of news. NPR with thirteen percent and MSNBC with twelve percent are the other main news outlets that liberals turn to. Liberals rely on very many different news outlets for their news.

Seventy-five percent of consistent conservatives distrusted MSNBC, and 61 percent of consistent conservatives distrusted CNN.

This study found a correlation between the trust level an individual had for a news organization and the frequency that an individual relied on a news organization for news. This infographic emphasizes how different news outlets have created a divide in political ideologies’ trust of the information they present. This affects the perception of the public on government and politics.

I chose the design that I did to make the two main sources of  news for Americans easily comparable. I showed in a series of pie graphs that decreased in size as the percentage decreased to make the frequency of what different political ideologies watched CNN or Fox News in the past week seen easily. I also showed in horizontal bar graphs the main sources of news that different political ideologies rely on to show that Fox News dominates as the conservative news outlet, while there is no dominating news outlet for liberals.