Talia Stroud Study on Viewer Perception of Keystone Featured in The Conversation

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

Talia Stroud, 2014-2015 CSDP Visiting Scholar and Associate Professor at UT-Austin, conducted an experimental study of viewer perception of the proposed Keystone Pipeline. The study is featured in The Conversation, a collaboration between editors and academics to provide informed news analysis and commentary.

To assess the impact of cable TV news viewing on partisan perceptions, Stroud and Curry recruited 225 Democratic and Republican identifying adults to participate in an experiment. These partisans were randomly assigned to watch 2 minutes of coverage of the State Department report headlined by either Brian Williams at NBC News, Bret Baier at Fox News, or Chris Hayes at MSNBC. Stroud and co-author Curry concluded that "Fox News, MSNBC, and other partisan media outlets both “reflect and intensify partisan divides among members of the public....Although not everyone uses partisan media, the audience that does may be particularly politically influential, making findings of increased polarization worrisome.”

The study appears as part of a forthcoming edited book examining “American Gridlock: Causes, Characteristics and Consequences of Polarization.”