You are hereMother Jones: Fox News' Paranoid Alternate Universe

Mother Jones: Fox News' Paranoid Alternate Universe


—By Adam Serwer

September 7, 2011- Two-thirds of viewers who say Fox News is the news source they trust most believe discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against minority groups, according to a study released Tuesday by the Brookings Institution and the Public Religion Research Institute. The number, 68 percent, is an exact reversal of the percentage of black people in the same poll who say that discrimination against whites is not as big a problem as discrimination against minorities. The study was based on polling conducted by PRRI.*

The Brookings/PRRI study uses "reverse discrimination"—an unfortunate term that suggests a difference in kind, not in degree—to describe anti-white discrimination. Nevertheless, the revelations about the views of consumers who most trust Fox News are disturbing:

Among Americans who say they most trust Fox News, 26 percent say reverse discrimination is a critical issue, nearly twice as many as say discrimination against minority groups is a critical issue (14 percent). At the other end of the spectrum, only 8 percent of Americans who most trust public television say reverse discrimination is a critical issue, compared to 27 percent who say discrimination against minorities is a critical issue.

The financial crisis wiped out 20 years of minority wealth gains, and minority incarceration and unemployment rates are far higher than those of whites, but white Americans have nevertheless become more receptive to the idea that whites face as much discrimination as minorities. While the numbers for those who trust Fox News are much higher, a majority of whites in the study, 51 percent, also say they believe discrimination against whites is as big of a problem as discrimination against minorities. That's despite relatively low levels of interaction between whites and minorities. According to the study, "More than 8-in-10 Americans report having a conversation with an African-American person at least once a day (43 percent) or occasionally (40 percent)." Most of these exchanges, apparently, involve black people callously turning down whites applying for jobs or home loans. Nevertheless, while opinions of Muslims and immigrants vary by age and political perspective, demographic groups surveyed expressed positive impressions of African Americans across the board. (Otherwise, they might be racist or something.)

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