Fox News Nation

Posted: 20 Jan 2020

See all articles by Glen Smith

Glen Smith

University of North Georgia


The Fox News Network has received a lot of attention from political pundits, scholars and elected officials. At best, Fox News merely preaches to the choir of (already) conservative viewers. At worst, Fox News is polarizing viewers by moving their audience to the extreme right. Past research suggests that Fox News viewers hold more conservative attitudes and beliefs, but only on a limited number of questions. In this paper, I examine the political opinions of Fox News viewers on a wider range of political issues including both foreign and domestic policy. Specifically, I use data from the Pew Research Center to compare Fox News viewers to similar Americans that get news from other sources. The findings suggest that Fox News viewers hold more conservative opinions than the rest of the population, even when controlling for party identification and ideology. In fact, Independents watching Fox News are more likely to hold conservative opinions than Republicans in general. I argue that this disparity stems from selective exposure and distrust of mainstream news organizations. The data largely support this theory, as Fox News viewers tend to 1) hold unfavorable impressions of mainstream news sources and 2) avoid other news outlets such as CNN or broadcast news.

Suggested Citation

Smith, Glen, Fox News Nation. Western Political Science Association 2011 Annual Meeting Paper , Available at SSRN:

Glen Smith (Contact Author)

University of North Georgia ( email )

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