Partisan cable news channels only influence the people who are predisposed to agree with the network’s world view, according to a recent study by McCourt School Professor of Public Policy and Government Jonathan Ladd and Georgetown Professor of Government Daniel Hopkins. Their research, published in Quarterly Journal of Political Science, examined how access to ideologically distinctive news sources such as Fox News can influence voters’ political attitudes and behaviors.
While Fox News made Republicans more likely than usual to vote for Republican candidates, it did not persuade Democratic voters to support Republican candidates. Entitled “The Consequences of Broader Media Choice: Evidence from the Expansion of Fox News,” the article studies the rapidly changing news media landscape and its effects on voters.
The researchers concluded that larger surveys would need to be conducted in order to confirm the effect of partisan cable news on Independents. Despite popular belief that a partisan cable news channel can persuade voters and enlarge its party's electoral coalition, the research shows that partisan cable channels ultimately simply polarize their audience.