Appearing on Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor Wednesday, liberal columnist and Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers discussed a George Washington University study showing that liberals on the internet are less tolerant than conservatives. Powers said that part of the reason is that liberals are unsettled by opposing points of view because they’re used to running the so-called “mainstream media.”
“I always knew that liberal people were more sensitive, more sensitive to criticism, more sensitive to disagreement, and according to the study, 22 percent of liberals have ended digital relationships, whatever they are, because somebody disagreed with them politically,” O’Reilly said. “For conservatives the number is 15 percent. And you say?”
Powers responded by telling O’Reilly that the study “jibes” with her real-life experience, “especially,” she added, “as I came into more contact with conservatives as I got older because I used to really live very much in a Democratic bubble when I worked in politics.”
“I did find that they were much more open to sort of hearing other viewpoints, where I think liberals because they are so used to controlling all the media pretty much, academia, that for them when they hear things that don’t jibe with what they want to hear, it’s very disconcerting and unsettling to them. And it doesn’t surprise me that they’re really less interested, whereas conservatives are kind of used to it. They’ve lived in a world where pretty much, you know, the whole media has been sort of liberal,” she explained.
“So they’re used to the joust more than the liberals are?” O’Reilly asked.
“Yeah,” Powers said. “I think they don’t, they just have a sort of, they just sort of expect it, where the liberals are sort of taken aback because they feel like, ‘What are you talking about? Everybody knows that what I think is right and nobody thinks differently.’”
Kate Obenshain a Republican strategist who appeared on the program, agreed with Powers and said that when conservatives on colleges disagree with liberal orthodoxy, they are often charged with “violating campus speech codes.”
Newsbusters’ Noel Sheppard wrote that Powers’ statement rang true for him.
“Just this week,” he wrote, “I got into an email argument with a childhood friend of mine – someone I’ve known since kindergarten – who claimed emphatically that Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush each created more federal debt than Obama.”
Sheppard said that when he provided the facts along with a link to the Treasury website backing it up, his liberal friend refused to believe it and changed the subject.
“What’s become clear of late is the liberal media’s propaganda machine is so strong it’s impossible for some in our nation to accept the truth,” Sheppard added.
When confronted with facts, they lash out and demand an end to the conversation while threatening to end the relationship, Sheppard added.
Conservatives who engage with liberals on social media sites like Facebook often find this to be true. When presented with facts and sources, many on the left simply choose not to accept what is right in front of them and either try to change the subject or engage in name-calling.
The study’s findings are not all that surprising, given that a 2012 Pew survey found liberals are less tolerant of different political opinions on various on-line platforms and are far more likely to block someone because they disagree with their political point of view.
“Scary stuff when you think about it,” Sheppard wrote.
Video of the segment can be seen here.