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The Role and Impact of Fox News

Jennifer Hoewe, Kathryn Cramer Brownell and Eric C. Wiemer
From the journal The Forum

Abstract

Considering that cable news has become a primary source of political information for many Americans, this article examines the role and impact of Fox News in the United States, particularly as it compares to other news outlets. We begin by offering a historical analysis of Fox News’ formation and growth in popularity, including a review of existing scholarship on the network’s impact on news consumers. Prior research as well as an additional nationally-representative dataset reveals that two policy areas are particularly potent among Fox News’ consumers: immigration and climate change. Additionally, scholars have found initial evidence for the role of Fox News in shaping its viewers’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. We then consider the cognitive processing utilized by news consumers, explaining how it may differ among individuals who opt to consume Fox News and those who get news from other sources. We conclude by reviewing why three specific areas—immigration, climate change, and COVID-19—resonate so strongly with Fox News consumers.


Corresponding author: Dr. Jennifer Hoewe, Assistant Professor, Brian Lamb School of Communication, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA, E-mail:

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