April 23, 2019

News Media Attitudes in France

5. Where users place outlets’ ideologies

Another way to examine attitudes across news media outlets is to look at the relationship between the ideological profile of an outlet’s audience and where people think it falls on a left-right ideological scale. To do this, the study asked respondents who have heard of the outlets where they think each falls on the left-right ideological scale used in this study, where 0 represents the far left and 6 represents the far right.

Across the eight countries surveyed, people who get news from an outlet tend to think it is closer to their own left-right ideological position. In France, news users on either the right or left tend to place three outlets closer to their own ideology: the public television channel France 2, the 24-hour TV news channel BFM and the newspaper Le Monde. Right-aligned and left-aligned news users, however, generally agree on the ideological placement of the TV channel TF1.3

 

Ideological placement of news outlets in France

People tend to think outlets in France are more partisan than their average audiences' ideologiesIn general, where the public places an outlet tends to differ from where the average audience actually sits ideologically. For each of the news outlets asked about in the survey, the average audience (based on self-reported usage) tends to fall near the ideological center. People who have heard of the outlet, however, tend to place the outlet either farther to the left or farther to the right than the actual ideological position of the outlet’s audience.

France is no exception; for most outlets, while their news audiences are near the ideological center, people who have heard of the outlets tend to think they lean slightly more to the right. TF1, for example, has an audience that sits at about the middle of the left-right spectrum (3.3 on the 0-to-6 scale), but when asked to place the outlet on the same left-right scale, people who have heard of it place the outlet farther to the right (at 4.1).

 

  1. Le Figaro, Libération, L’Express and Mediapart are not included in this analysis, because they did not have a large enough sample of left or right users to analyze.