SKEPTIC RESEARCH CENTER REPORT (PCIS-006)
Conspiracy Theory Endorsement by Media Viewership
Sixth report in the Paranormal & Conspiratorial Ideation Study (PCIS)
Cable news media in the United States has been playing to partisan audiences since at least the 1990s (Hollander, 2008). If conspiratorial thinking is sometimes partisan — as it seems to be given our prior reports on this topic — it is worth investigating whether cable news media viewership is itself associated with conspiracy belief. To do so, we divided our sample into those who reported watching CNN only (a politically left-skewed cable news channel) and those who reported watching Fox News only (a politically right-skewed cable news channel) and then asked the question: “Does cable news viewership impact conspiracy belief?”
SRC Fellowship Opportunities
The Skeptic Research Center (SRC), under the umbrella of the Skeptics Society, is currently accepting applications for two Skeptic Research Center Fellows.
EPISODE # 267
Louis Theroux on Neo-Nazis, Jimmy Savile, UFO Cults, and Scientology
Shermer and Theroux discuss: how documentary films are made • religious fanaticism and why people believe • UFO cults, end-times sects, and cognitive dissonance • Scientology: religion or cult? • neo-Nazis and anti-Semitism • prisons, pornography, and prostitution • Jeffrey Epstein and Jimmy Savile • self-help movements and gurus • deception and self-deception • social proof and human conformity • are humans naturally rational, irrational, or both?
Louis Theroux is a genre-defining documentary filmmaker best known for his explorations of controversial and complex topics. Using a gentle questioning style and an informal approach, Louis has shone light on intriguing beliefs, behaviors, and institutions by getting to know the people at the heart of them — from the officers and inmates at San Quentin prison to the extreme believers of the Westboro Baptist Church; from male porn performers in California to young women with eating disorders in London.
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