The increased availability of access to media has resulted in selective exposure to specific content that influences ideological perceptions. A variety of choices in the media landscape leads to viewers selecting cable news channels that fit their ideological predispositions. Furthermore, selective exposure begins to influence political beliefs and attitudes towards certain issues and social groups (Anand, 2017).
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The article focused on the relevant and controversial aspects of modern politics, which is Mexican immigration. The social issue is formed when the partisan media exposure begins to strongly influence perceptions and preferences towards policies on Mexican immigration (Gil de Zúñiga, Correa, & Valenzuela, 2012). As a result, people become entrenched in their opinion, refusing to consider perspectives contrary to the adopted ideology. Furthermore, the media impact stretches past personal opinion into actions such as voting for certain politicians or policies which can have significant consequences.
All the data was collected from a national survey conducted online. Gender and age were considered to represent the adult population. Online samples were validated by census data. Demographic breakdowns were similar to the surveys conducted by respected national research organizations. The response rate stood at 22.8% which is acceptable for online questionnaires (Creswell, 2014). Demographics were based on gender, race, education, and income. Social-political ideology was determined by a scale that allowed selecting political affiliation and ideological stance on economic and social issues. Also, people were asked to rate exposure to either FOX News or CNN which represents drastically opposite media positions on the political spectrum. Finally, respondents were asked about various aspects related to Mexican immigration and could rate their opinion on a 10-point Likert scale (Creswell, 2014). Researchers used zero-order Pearson’s correlations and hierarchical regression analysis to process the data using SPSS software. Data was divided into blocks with different independent variables to establish relevant connections.
The hypothesis that the person’s ideological beliefs correlated with which cable news network they chose to watch was supported. A more conservative preferred FOX News while liberals were most likely to watch CNN. The hypothesis that political ideology is correlated with opinions on Mexican immigration as a result of racialized identity development was also supported (Isom, 2012). Conservative individuals had significantly more negative perceptions on the issue in comparison to liberals. Furthermore, the data were analyzed to determine that those exposed to FOX News (no matter the ideological beliefs) did not support Mexican immigration and the channel associated with a polarizing effect. Meanwhile, CNN did not have a considerable influence on the attitudes of its audience.
The issue of biased coverage by the media and its influence on the audience and political climate is difficult to address since the inherent problems are based on the industry structure (Anand, 2017). Traditional media such as cable news is trying to survive by adopting business models that are reliant on the advertisement and paid speakers. To gain the viewer’s attention, outlets endeavor to produce sensational headlines and controversial messages which appeal to the most prominent audience. As a result, there is a polarizing effect that is utilized by political parties (Gil de Zúñiga et al., 2012). For the change to be implemented, essentially all the major networks have to realize that this approach compromises journalistic integrity and leads to the rise of political manipulation by the media which is contradictory to the principles of democracy. There should be more emphasis on unbiased coverage and investigative journalism which helped uncover some of the greatest truths in media history. Additional federal funding can be provided for public television and investigative journalism as a method to establish media independence. Furthermore, all parties should be involved in educating their average viewer.
The issue of Mexican immigration remains a controversial social problem that needs immediate resolution. The media fuels the problem by making the discussion especially heated and emotional. Thus, a strong emphasis must be placed on approaching the dilemma from a rational perspective and encouraging journalist integrity among the representatives of the contemporary media.
Anand, B. (2017). The U.S. media’s problems are much bigger than fake news and filter bubbles. Web.
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Creswell, J. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Gil de Zúñiga, H., Correa, T., & Valenzuela, S. (2012). Selective exposure to cable news and immigration in the U.S.: The relationship between FOX News, CNN, and attitudes toward Mexican immigrants. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56(4), 597–615. Web.
Isom, D. (2012). Fluid and shifting: Racialized, gendered, and sexual identity in African American children. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 6(11), 127-137. Web.