By Zhaoyang Liu
In mid-July of 2018, NPR-Ipsos released the results of a poll regarding American opinions on immigration. While these viewpoints are often associated with partisan political affiliations, the poll suggests that television news might hold a stronger correlation. Most respondents stated that they receive the majority of their news from TV channels such as Fox News or CNN. On some survey questions, individuals who claimed to watch the aforementioned channels were even further split than people who identified with different political parties.
In an NPR broadcast on the poll, reporters spoke to several people whose opinions highlighted the divisions. Tricia McCary, a Chinese-American from Riverside, California was one of the people featured in the story:
“McCary immigrated to the U.S. from China, legally, when she was 14, and is now a U.S. citizen. She said she rejected CNN as “fake news” after the 2016 election. Now McCary watches Fox News because she says that it’s “unbiased” and that its coverage tends to match her views about undocumented immigrants. ‘They’re taking resources. They’re taking jobs. And they’re not contributing back to the community,’ McCary said.”
On the other side is Bethany Bunnell, a Christian missionary from Minneapolis who gets her news from CNN. The report explained:
“Contrast [Tricia] with one poll respondent who doesn’t watch Fox. ‘I think that Fox News feeds on fear,’ said Bethany Bunnell, a Christian missionary in Minneapolis, in an interview. Bunnell says she gets her news from CNN and other online sources. She says the United States has an obligation to help people making the dangerous journey to the Southwest border to escape from violence and persecution.”
The full podcast can be heard below:
1. What do you see as the relationship between the way people think about immigration and the media they consume? Do you think that media channels are influencing people’s views, or do you think that people watch certain networks to reinforce their opinions? Is this connection reciprocal?
2. Do you believe that media sources should be unbiased, or do you think that is it okay for them to express specific viewpoints? Regardless of your point of view, how might either preference affect the way in which contemporary topics, such as immigration, are perceived?
3. What is the best way to facilitate civil discussion between people of differing opinions? Through what methods and means can this be achieved? What can we do, as individuals, to make ourselves more conscious of ideas that we may disagree with?
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