Dr. Ann Gordon
Within only one year of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, risk prevention, including the use of a mask to prevent spread of the disease, became incredibly politicized within the United States. By looking at mainstream media sources such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, in this article I will be examining how news media sources affect the viewer's perceptions of mask wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Relying on the Chapman Survey of American Fears, a representative national sample of U.S. adults, I found that individuals who choose to watch FOX news every day were most likely to disagree that the benefits of wearing a mask outweighed the consequences of not wearing one. In contrast, I found that individuals who watch CNN every day were most likely to agree that the benefits of wearing a mask outweigh the consequences of not wearing one. I also found that the majority of people who watch Fox News are Republican and the majority of people who watch CNN are Democrats. Lastly, I found that the more Republican you identify, the less likely you are to agree that wearing a mask is beneficial. The tie between partisan news sources and the effect it has on its viewers is incredibly important as the pandemic continues to have a heavy toll on the United States. The United States is also one of the only countries in which the use of masks became heavily politicized and the pandemic caused a partisan divide. In a society where media continues to have a significant presence, it is important to understand and recognize the ways in which it influences, not only our everyday lives, but perceptions of risk prevention of a global pandemic in which we all play a role in ending.
Martin, Lily, "The Partisan Effects of COVID-19: News Sources and Mask Wearing" (2021). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 463.