An excellent example of the production of the groundwork for the bias infusing media today is “research” published in 2003, in the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin. Supported by $1.2 million in federal money, “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition” supposedly provided an “elegant and unifying explanation” for political conservatism. If you have been paying attention this year, some of its themes will seem familiar.
The authors found resistance to change and tolerance for inequality at the core of political conservatism. While proclaiming their findings to be nonjudgmental, they also concluded that conservatism was “significantly linked with mental rigidity and close-mindedness, increased dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity, decreased cognitive complexity, decreased openness to experience, uncertainty avoidance, personal needs for order and structure, need for cognitive closure, lowered self-esteem; fear, anger, and aggression; pessimism, disgust, and contempt.”