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These same sources are the most trusted by consistent conservatives. Another way to examine attitudes across media sources is to look at the relationships between awareness and trust or distrust for news about government and politics. Some media outlets are better known than others and thus amass trust or distrust across a larger share of panelists.
There are simply more people who know of them and have a view one way or another. Other outlets elicit high levels of both trust and distrust, making it useful to look at the two measures side by side. And many outlets asked about here are only recognized by subsets of the public, but derive some trust or distrust from those who do recognize them. One example is the Economist. By contrast, the Glenn Beck Program is more distrusted than trusted.
Looking at the media landscape overall, there are a few areas of agreement in a sea of ideological disagreement. Only one source is more trusted than distrusted by all five ideological groups: The Wall Street Journal. Among consistent liberals, fully 28 of the 36 sources are more trusted than distrusted.
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And though only eight sources are more distrusted than trusted by consistent liberals, six of them are overwhelmingly more distrusted than trusted: Fox News, the Drudge Report, Breitbart, the Glenn Beck Program, the Rush Limbaugh Show and the Sean Hannity Show. All six of the sources overwhelmingly distrusted by consistent liberals are overwhelmingly trusted by consistent conservatives.
And they are among the only sources that consistent conservatives trust more than distrust along with the Wall Street Journal and the Blaze. See Appendix C for detailed tables on trust, distrust and awareness of all 36 sources across all groups.
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The list of popular sources these panelists turn to for political and government news often parallels the list of sources they are most likely to trust. Panelists were asked whether they got news from each of the 36 sources plus local television news over the past week, and while these data do not speak to the number of hours spent on each outlet, they do reveal distinct orientations that segment along ideological lines. For example, consistent conservatives not only trust Fox News at high rates, but also coalesce around it as a source.
While Fox News has a large audience overall, the other outlets that consistent conservatives turn to do not have much reach beyond this conservative base. S adults got news about government and politics from any of these sources in the previous week.
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Even among those with mostly conservative political values, there is a drop-off in usage of sources like the Rush Limbaugh show, the Sean Hannity Show and the Glenn Beck Program. Consistent conservatives, then, are both united around a single source in a way no other ideological group is, and when they turn to other sources, they opt for those not consumed by many others.
Consistent liberals, on the other hand, show signs of a more diffuse network of news sources. Ten of the 37 sources local television was included in this consumption measure were used by at least a third of this group for news about government and politics in the past week; by comparison, only five sources were used by a third or more of consistent conservatives in the past week.
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But the public radio news network is far less central to the news diets of those in the other ideological groups. Those with mixed ideological views who also tend to follow political and government news less closely than those in other groups gravitate to both broadcast and cable television sources. On average, consistent liberals turn to more sources for news about politics and government than do those in other groups.
Those with consistently liberal political values say they got news about government and politics in the past week from 6. Consistent conservatives turn to somewhat fewer sources 5.
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The different ideological preferences detailed above result in distinct audience profiles for each news source. Each source is placed on the line graph below according to the average ideological composition of those who use the source for news about politics and government. The dashed vertical line shows the ideological placement of the average respondent just slightly to the left of someone holding an equal mix of liberal and conservative positions. The New Yorker on the other hand is placed further to the left because its audience is, on average, more liberal.
But the overall audience distributions can differ even for outlets that are similarly placed. To help readers understand why sources are placed where they are, Pew Research has created interactive visuals for each outlet. Here are a few examples. On the continuum above, Fox News sits to the right of the midpoint but not nearly as far right as sources such as the Rush Limbaugh Show or the Glenn Beck Program.
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In the Senate, for example, the group of Republican moderates in the Wednesday Club, which had nearly two dozen members in the s, had shrunk to five by Olympia Snowe retired, and Susan Collins, the last one in the Senate, may just have sacrificed her reputation as a moderate with her immoderate speech endorsing Brett Kavanaugh. Like the Republican Party as a whole, the center right has been moving right. Fifty years ago, it would have been identified with the Rockefeller wing of the party, more recently with the Bush wing, and now even with traditional conservatives and neoconservatives who oppose Trump.
The center right has not disappeared, but it has had its home in electoral politics taken from it.
This influx of Republican refugees into the Democratic Party is one reason the party has not seen a movement to the left comparable with the Republican movement to the right. Democrats have seen a burst of progressive anger and energy, but heightened passion is not the same as a major ideological shift, especially among the Democrats elected to public office.
Republican crossovers are going to be crucial for Democrats running in suburban districts and red states. But a substantial move of the center right toward the Democrats would be a mixed blessing for them. The root of the problem of the center right is that it lacks a base in popular politics. The combination of economically conservative and socially moderate views does not match up today with the large blocs of voters who identify with either the Democratic or the Republican Party.
The support for that hybrid position lies mainly among the affluent and especially the leaders of corporate America. But that is not to say the center right is powerless. Where it puts its money and its influence will have an enormous impact.
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