I’m liberal, and I watched Fox News for a week


Graphic by Selina Ding.

By Hannah Feuer

Most of us are trapped in ideological media bubbles; we consume news only if it aligns with our views. I’m no exception: I watch CNN regularly, NBC Nightly News daily, Meet the Press every Sunday, and read The New York Times in the morning, but I rarely tune in to Fox News or pick up the Washington Times, more conservative news media outlets.

Many Whitman students are no different. In fact, a recent Black & White survey of 50 students across all grade levels found that 59 percent of Whitman students mainly consume news media from liberal outlets. But this is in stark contrast with the majority of Americans: Fox News was the most watched cable television network in 2017 for the second year in a row, according to The Hill.

Recently, I became curious about Fox’s sweeping appeal to so many Americans. So I set out to experience a conservative news outlet for myself.

For one week, I held off on my trusted news sources in favor of watching Fox News, including Hannity, The Five, Fox & Friends and Special Report. I tried my best to go in with an open mind.

While none of my liberal views changed, in many ways, it was refreshing to see another perspective. I learned about why some conservatives think the Russia investigation is biased, Obama’s Iran deal was counterproductive and U.S. embassies in Israel should be moved to Jerusalem—views I hadn’t heard on NBC or CNN. While I didn’t agree with the arguments presented, I understood where the other side was coming from.

After hearing so much about the chaos and failures of the Trump presidency, it was also interesting to see where some conservatives think he has succeeded. While I defined 2017 by its declining race relations, a failure to reform healthcare and the waning moral authority of our country, New Years specials on Fox focused on the improving economy, tax reform victory and ousting ISIS from its strongholds.

At the same time, I was often disappointed with the lack of substantive reporting Fox News broadcasted. I expected—not unreasonably—to see the news reported with a conservative twist. Instead, I often found that Fox was almost avoiding the news entirely. On three separate occasions during my experiment, Fox devoted screentime to covering a CNN reporter in Colorado who smoked a joint on air on New Year’s Eve.

Every time I watched, there was an irrelevant social media post brought up that “snowflake liberals” had overreacted to, leaving me scratching my head searching for what made the post newsworthy. There were also consistently reports that other mainstream media refuses to cover Trump positively—which may be true—but left me wondering how much positive press Obama got on Fox.

In general, Fox lacks hard news. The channel doesn’t even have its own nightly news show; instead, it offers up a constant stream of political commentary. As a result, people who watch solely Fox News are actually less informed about current events than people who watch no news at all, according to Business Insider.

Even though I was disappointed with Fox News in many ways, I would wholeheartedly recommend watching or reading news that challenges your political ideology. For more substantive information, read newspaper compilations of contrasting viewpoints. As the divide between our two political parties grows ever-wider, a little more sympathy across the aisle is what this country needsand only by understanding why people hold certain viewpoints can we create meaningful dialogue and make progress.

So, if you’re liberal, next time you watch CNN or NBC, turn to Fox for a few minutesand vice versa. Whether you find something that makes your blood boil, leaves you feeling dispirited or maybe even changes your perspective, you’ll be making an honest attempt to listen to the other side. The reality is, if you’re not comfortable enough to challenge your views, you probably weren’t very comfortable with your views in the first place.