Fox News Derangement Syndrome, or, The Left Out-Fox-es Itself

Fox News copyIf there’s any conservative media the Left hates worse that Rush Limbaugh and AM talk radio, it’s Fox News. The Left is obsessed with Fox News, and just as the Left floated the idea of reviving the “fairness doctrine” to shut down Rush Limbaugh (the “hush Rush rule,” as it was called), the Left would love to find a way for the government to shut down or regulate Fox News into oblivion. Call it the “Fox News Derangement Syndrome.”

But it looks like the Left may have outsmarted itself (yeah, I know—a low bar to clear) with an “academic study” that claims Fox News skews election results—specifically, that Fox News coverage cost Al Gore the 2000 election. According to the Puffington Host summary, “Those analyses found that if Fox News had not existed in 2000, the Republican vote would have dropped by 1.3 percentage points.” The NBER paper on which this is based concludes that “We estimate that Fox News increases the likelihood of voting Republican by 0.9 points among viewers induced into watching four additional minutes per week by differential channel positions.”

Now hold on a minute: If Fox News skews voters to the right, what effect does ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and MSNBC have (not to mention the print media)? This is of course the thesis of Tim Groseclose. Oops. If we start claiming media outlets affect elections and therefore need to be regulated, I wonder whose Gore will get oxed the worst?

The Puffington Host thought better of the whole exercise, concluding:

It’s important not to get ahead of the evidence by claiming election outcomes are influenced. When these findings are put in context with what we know about voting behavior, the likelihood that Fox News or MSNBC would alter an election outcome is very small.

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