Let me start by acknowledging that this topic was brought to my attention by a post from Ezra Klein. Hopefully, since he’s in China right now, he won’t mind if I do a piece on his piece, which is itself a piece on a Kaiser piece. The topic is: How did people learn about health care reform? The results, gathered by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Tracking Poll look like this:
What can we make from this? Well, the numbers in the left column aren’t especially interesting in and of themselves. They just say “Yes, I was exposed to information there.” That’s where the numbers in the right column come in. They say “This is the information I used to form my opinion on health reform.” So, with a little bit of math (dividing the figures in the second column by those in the first), we can compute a potency factor that explains how effective each information exposure is in influencing people. Here’s what that looks like:
So, congratulations FOX News and CNN for being the sources people seem to give the most authority to by nearly a 2:1 margin. And friends and family, maybe don’t try so hard to influence others, because it doesn’t look like your “friends” and family are really listening to what you have to say. I’m going to make an exception for myself, though, because at least blogs are tied with newspapers for second place.