In the States, the Obama administration and Fox News Channel have recently “declared war.” The argument is essentially that the “talk-radio format” of the evening commentary programs undercuts the network’s credibility as a news organization and the Obama administration has indicated they will not interact with the network on this level. And yet, Fox News is enjoying some of its highest ratings ever.
A recent study in the European Journal of Personality may shed some light on the popularity of the network. The evening programs are usually highly critical of the administration and popular with individuals who identify with the political right. According to Jugert et al., there are several personality constructs that relate to right wing authoritarianism (RWA): social conformity and a cognitive style reflecting a need for personal structure.
This ties in with Swedish psychologist Catarina Kinnvall’s suggestion that increasing globalization has led people to feel “ontologically insecure” and thus more likely to identify with collective ideologies that answer to this feeling of insecurity. Two primary examples she cites are religion and nationalism.
The question then is whether the increasing realities of globalization and the continual breaking down of traditional “borders” — through commerce and technology, for example — are leading individuals to feel less existentially secure and thus more in need of more rigid ideologies, and if — for those in the States, at least — right-wing conservatism is ready to answer this call.