Political ideology affected how COVID-19 news was consumed, study finds | Penn State University

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“The outbreak is a great example of a very stressful time we’ve had with so many people seeking health information and trying to figure out what it means for them and their families,” Myrick said. “In the beginning, everyone wanted the information, but then it got overwhelming or people got sick of the information. We have seen many people deliberately start avoiding new information even if it is useful or useful.

One of the reasons why researchers avoid this information is the political and cultural context in which a person receives news.

“In various countries, political ideology has become relevant to shape the agenda of the pandemic and the availability of various Covid-related sources and information in the media and social networks,” Myrick said. “The role of political ideology in the nature of information – seeking or avoiding it – helps to find the deep roots of action and dysfunctional processes. That is, if political ideology is a limitation to information seeking, the problem is not the availability and understanding of information. Rather, the problem is the resistance to information.

To investigate, the researchers asked survey respondents how seriously they took Covid-19, how often they were up-to-date with news events, and perceived pressure from family and social groups.

According to the results, ideology has an impact on news consumption. Left-leaning participants viewed Covid-19 as a greater threat than right-leaning participants. In both countries, right-leaning participants had lower information requirements, meaning less pressure from social and family groups to get up-to-date information on the latest information on Covid-19. However, in the United States, right-wing ideologues viewed Covid less favorably than their German counterparts.

“Conservatives in the United States in our sample viewed COVID-19 as less of a threat,” Myrick said. “They were not worried or scared like the plague. In Germany, right-leaning people felt that there was no need to know everything about COVID-19 at the moment, but they still recognized that COVID-19 could have serious problems and reported stronger negative feelings about the epidemic than conservatives in the United States. State sample.”

Myrick says this is important because emotional response and severity are two factors that drive a person’s behavior. In this case, such behaviors may include wearing a mask, social distancing, or getting vaccinated when available.

“Covid-19 was unique in many ways, because we started learning about biology and new scientific terms, and we were learning from different spokespeople,” Myrick said. “It was the same in other countries. We need to continue to work as health messengers to ensure that we get information out in a way that people can follow and understand, even when they are anxious and worried.

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