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Author Topic: The Reign of Right-Wing Primetime
philnotfil
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Interesting.

hollywoodreporter.com

quote:
According to months of data from leading media-research company Experian Simmons, viewers who vote Republican and identify themselves as conservative are more likely than Democrats to love the biggest hits on TV. Of the top 10 broadcast shows on TV in the spring, nine were ranked more favorably by viewers who identify themselves as Republican.

Liberals appreciate many of the same shows, mind you. But their devotion typically is not quite as strong as right-wingers, and Dems are more likely to prefer modestly rated titles.

quote:
But if you look at the list of broadcast shows that are Republican favorites, it closely mirrors the Nielsen top 10 list, whereas Democrats tend to gravitate toward titles likely to have narrower audiences.

To Hollywood, the data suggest a potentially disquieting idea: The TV industry is populated by liberals, but big-league success may require pleasing conservatives.


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JoshuaD
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The website lists the shows that are most popular for each party. What's the list of 10 most popular broadcast shows?

I'm hesitant to draw much of a conclusion from this article aside from this: That I am a strange amalgam of liberal and conservative. All of my cultural preferences (TV, music, art, etc) are very liberal, and my politics is very conservative.

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TomDavidson
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Again, I strongly suspect this correlates to education level.

[ November 11, 2010, 06:44 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Pete at Home
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But eventually, Tom, the educators will also learn that there's money and power in not chasing conservatives out of higher education. When the universities are no longer left-wing sanctums, that's when solitude will really start to bite.
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RickyB
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Maybe, not sure, but maybe this also indicates another thing: Maybe conservatives consume more TV, whereas more liberals eschew TV for other forms of entertainment.

Here are the top shows for the week ending Nov. 7. Not the Spring lineup referred to in the article, but still something to give an idea, since we can assume tastes haven't changed radically in half a year. That said, this is ratings for ages 18-49, and doesn't reflect the impact of older viewership on overall ratings:

1 NBC Sunday Night Football NBC 7.4 9,738
2 SUNDAY NIGHT NFL PRE-KICK NBC 5.8 7,655
3 MODERN FAMILY ABC 4.8 6,370
4 Two and a Half Men CBS 4.7 6,165
5 BIG BANG THEORY, THE CBS 4.7 6,135
6 Grey’S Anatomy ABC 4.3 5,717
7 FOX World Series GAME 5(S) S FOX 4.2 5,458
8 Desperate Housewives ABC 4.1 5,345
9 Dancing WITH THE STARS ABC 4.0 5,309
10 Private Practice

1+2 are sports. Plenty of liberals love sports, but more liberals than conservatives don't like sports, I think. I could be wrong, but I'd guess that mock elections or polls held among people who follow the NFL enough to visit NFL.com, for instance, would yield more conservative results than the same poll or choice among the public at large.

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RickyB
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"But eventually, Tom, the educators will also learn that there's money and power in not chasing conservatives out of higher education. When the universities are no longer left-wing sanctums, "

Are you suggesting that applicants to colleges across the country are screened based on political leaning? Are chased away from school once they display the "wrong" leaning?

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PSRT
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Oddly, I had more outspoken conservative professors in college and during graduate work than outspoken liberal professors. Since those professors did not seem to have been chased out of the Universitys, I find the claim that they are chased out for their political leanings to be lacking credibility.
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Oddly, I had more outspoken conservative professors in college and during graduate work than outspoken liberal professors. Since those professors did not seem to have been chased out of the Universitys, I find the claim that they are chased out for their political leanings to be lacking credibility.
Where did you go to college?
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"But eventually, Tom, the educators will also learn that there's money and power in not chasing conservatives out of higher education. When the universities are no longer left-wing sanctums, "

Are you suggesting that applicants to colleges across the country are screened based on political leaning?

That would be barring them from entering. I said chasing them out. Making them feel as unwelcome, say, as a same-sex couple in a fundy mosque.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
quote:
Oddly, I had more outspoken conservative professors in college and during graduate work than outspoken liberal professors. Since those professors did not seem to have been chased out of the Universitys, I find the claim that they are chased out for their political leanings to be lacking credibility.
Where did you go to college?
Remember that conservative is relative. What seems conservative to Ev might not seem so conservative to you, me, or even Mother Jones.
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Viking_Longship
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"But eventually, Tom, the educators will also learn that there's money and power in not chasing conservatives out of higher education. When the universities are no longer left-wing sanctums, "

Are you suggesting that applicants to colleges across the country are screened based on political leaning? Are chased away from school once they display the "wrong" leaning?

I find the "the liberal eggheads are out to get us!" argument incredibly tiring BUT there's an accepted way of thinking amongst American academics and it's pretty much center-left to hard left.
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TomDavidson
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To some extent, this is a lot like complaining that nerds are being turned away from bass fishing tournaments.
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Pete at Home
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I don't think most liberal eggheads are out to get anyone. Any more than most Christian fundy churches are out to get gays. Hell, some of my own university students clearly thought that I was a liberal egghead (which from their perspective I am) that was out to get them (which I wasn't), when I told them that certain phrases were unacceptable in an academic or unprofessional environment, and others made them seem unenlightened.

I wasn't "out to get them," or out to change their politics; just teaching them to write in a way that they could be taken seriously in an academic or professional environment.

So folks will always think that there's some left or right wing conspiracy to brainwash them, whether it's true or not. But setting that aside, there are entire curricula and fields of study dedicated to political indoctrination rather than critical thought.

I think you know some of the fields that I'm referring to.

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TomDavidson
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Economics, I presume.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
To some extent, this is a lot like complaining that nerds are being turned away from bass fishing tournaments.

Ah, the smug voice of privilege. You work at a university, neh?
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Remember that conservative is relative. What seems conservative to Ev might not seem so conservative to you, me, or even Mother Jones.
I prefer to think in terms of right versus left rather than conservative versus liberal, but I grok.

I don't recall too many professors in university who were out to indoctrinate me in their left-wing ways. But that said I am fairly certain that most of them were leaning left. But this isn't unique to university professors: I've found that among the educated, left-wing politics are pretty much the default. There are a few with right-wing views sprinkled among this class, like myself, but we're in a minority. And I suspect alot of my views would brand me as hopelessly liberal by alot of peoples' standards.

Still, some universities have different cultures than others. I went to a fairly "conservative" university by Canadian standards, which means the average student would have fallen somewhere maybe just a tad to the right of Michael Moore, but significantly to the left of say, Barack Obama.

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JWatts
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[Eek!] Wow, "The Big Bang Theory" isn't in the top 15 list for Democrats.

Too much of a "bass fishing" theme I guess.

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TomDavidson
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One interesting thing about that study is how it ranks the shows. "Big Bang Theory" is still pretty highly rated by Democrats, you'll notice. In fact, the most interesting thing I see is that Democrats generally like shows liked by Republicans (except for the purely political ones, but Republicans tend to hate shows very liked by Democrats.)

Looking at the list, though, I again suspect demographics plays a huge part -- especially when you review how they score the shows. Age and education level are everything in this sort of survey.

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JWatts
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From the article:

quote:
Looking at the Democrats side, I don’t mean to make light of it, but they seem to like shows about damaged people. Those are the kind of shows Republicans just stay away from.”
Which may just translate into the Democratic demographic is much younger.

[ November 12, 2010, 11:14 AM: Message edited by: JWatts ]

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TomDavidson
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I think it might tie in with all the studies I've seen about liberal vs. conservative biological reactions of disgust, too; liberals are, in general, less viscerally disgusted by things than conservatives are, and that might translate into an increased willingness to watch something that they find strange or unnatural.

[ November 12, 2010, 11:17 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Mucus
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I have to wonder if the issue is just demographics. Democrats tend to be over-represented among hispanics, blacks, and asians while Republicans would have a larger and more homogenous "Middle America" core.

Thus, you'd expect democrats as a whole to view a larger set of shows, some foreign or in different languages, and for some sub-groups to dislike shows that other sub-groups like, weakening the scores of the top shows.

You'd pretty much have to expect a longer list with less agreement and strength among the top ten.

Edit to add:
Or the kind of demographic self-splits that this points out
http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-democrats-are-doomed-or-how-a-big-tent-can-be-too-big/

[ November 12, 2010, 11:55 AM: Message edited by: Mucus ]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
Edit to add:
Or the kind of demographic self-splits that this points out
http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-democrats-are-doomed-or-how-a-big-tent-can-be-too-big/

That's an interesting article. One flaw in his analysis is treating the different attitudes according to age as if they represent a persons journey through life. While I'm sure there is some truth to that idea, I suspect it is far likelier that the changes are due to societal changes. Someone born in 1990, is growing up in a far different world than someone born in 1950.

To get a definitive answer a researcher would need to perform a cradle to grave analysis of a group of individuals and follow their changing attitudes over time.

Still, this was an interesting read. And the central thesis that, a widely divergent ideological party won't act as coherently as a less divergent party seems pretty reasonable.

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I think it might tie in with all the studies I've seen about liberal vs. conservative biological reactions of disgust, too; liberals are, in general, less viscerally disgusted by things than conservatives are, and that might translate into an increased willingness to watch something that they find strange or unnatural.

On a slightly related note, I've noticed that some of my conservative acquaintances equate stories where the protagonist is damaged or a bad person with the celebration of their sins, and think this is a bad idea.
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OpsanusTau
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quote:
On a slightly related note, I've noticed that some of my conservative acquaintances equate stories where the protagonist is damaged or a bad person with the celebration of their sins, and think this is a bad idea.
I don't watch TV a lot - okay I don't watch it at all in any meaningful sense. But I do occasionally watch shows. And movies.
The only ones that I find interesting at all are stories with a lot of ambiguity - you know, stories about broken and damaged people doing the best they can in this crazy world. (I am thinking of Black Snake Moan, and the new Battlestar Galactica, among others).

I am totally bored by stories in which the good guys are 100% virtuous and the bad guys are terrible demons. I just don't see anything to identify with or learn from in that.

Acknowledgment that imperfection exists is really different from celebration of imperfection, but everyone's different, so if most other people want to watch things that I find crushingly boring, they are totally welcome to.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
On a slightly related note, I've noticed that some of my conservative acquaintances equate stories where the protagonist is damaged or a bad person with the celebration of their sins, and think this is a bad idea.

That's my problems with Dexter. Or maybe a better statement would be that I can't get over the fact he's evil, even if he's genial. I don't think it's a good idea to say, yeah he killed animals as a child, but "basically" he's a good guy and now he only kills people who "deserve" it.

A "likeable" character, but he's a serial killing, vigilante. I don't care that he's nice, I care that he a pyschopath who tortures without reason and then kills "evil" people. He just creeps me out and that kills the humor.

Still, it's become available on Netflix for streaming, so I might give it another try.

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OpsanusTau
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Interesting!
That's the sort of thing I'm basically incapable of watching but the idea is intriguing.

Given that psychopaths exist (which research indicates they do) and that there is no recognized treatment or cure for psychopathy (which, again, research indicates) - isn't the protagonist Dexter the best society could hope for?
What would be a better outcome for this particular kind of human?

You know, you could look at the outline of the story and see a story about someone who is flawed and does bad things. Or you could see a story about someone who is flawed and does the best he can to mitigate the damage he causes in the world.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
Interesting!
That's the sort of thing I'm basically incapable of watching but the idea is intriguing.

I must admit that the premise intrigues me also.

quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
What would be a better outcome for this particular kind of human?

You know, you could look at the outline of the story and see a story about someone who is flawed and does bad things.

He's a psychopathic, serial killer engaging in vigilante justice. Yes, I see someone flawed and doing bad things.


quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
Or you could see a story about someone who is flawed and does the best he can to mitigate the damage he causes in the world.

Well no, he isn't doing the best he can. He's clearly capable of murder so he could probably manage suicide. He is however a very entertaining evil person.

I will admit I liked the portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs", but I was never able to watch any of the sequels or the original more than once. Even though I rooted for the film to win at the Oscars, I still couldn't watch the sadism, again.

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MattP
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quote:
He's a psychopathic, serial killer engaging in vigilante justice. Yes, I see someone flawed and doing bad things.
Is the vigilante justice really a huge problem in a fictional story? It's a key component of a huge part of our entertainment media, covering several genres from superheroes to drama to crime. "Good guy takes over when the justice system fails." is a well worn trope.

Is any expression of that a problem for you, or is it the combination of vigilante with psychopath the problem for you?

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Mariner
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I'm going with the demographics thingy too. The shows in the conservative list don't exactly scream out anything about conservative values. I mean, maybe you can say something about the reality shows being some sort of objectivist triumph over individual talent or something, but that's probably stretching it.

This reminds me of a journal article I read a while back that found a correlation between preference for the American League in baseball and being Dem/liberal (and Rep/conservative for the NL). The authors spent forever trying to link the DH rule to liberal philosphy to explain it, but they were not really clear how they took demographics and geography into account. It seems pretty simple to me: big market teams in the AL are the Yankees and the Red Sox (East Coast), while they're Cubs, Cardinals, and Braves (South and Midwest) in the NL. Problem solved.

Well, or it could be because the DH rule is stupid and therefore appeals to stupid liberals [Razz]

quote:
I think it might tie in with all the studies I've seen about liberal vs. conservative biological reactions of disgust, too; liberals are, in general, less viscerally disgusted by things than conservatives are, and that might translate into an increased willingness to watch something that they find strange or unnatural.
All of them? I'm aware of one study, and it only tested whether or not people consider themselves to look at entertainment they're idealogically opposed to. I don't think self identification is the perfect method here. Cons may think that they should say they don't like it in order to prevent the moral decay of America or something, while Libs may say they do like it to show how tolerant they are. But I'm sure if you present Cons with a commie atheist song like Lennon's Imagine, they'll claim to like it, but a Lib would probably refuse to read Atlas Shrugged (not a fair comparison, I know, given the difference in effort required for each, but you get the point.) I'd like to see this actually tested, although I don't know how a fair test could be made.

quote:
I don't watch TV a lot - okay I don't watch it at all in any meaningful sense. But I do occasionally watch shows. And movies.
The only ones that I find interesting at all are stories with a lot of ambiguity - you know, stories about broken and damaged people doing the best they can in this crazy world. (I am thinking of Black Snake Moan, and the new Battlestar Galactica, among others).

I am totally bored by stories in which the good guys are 100% virtuous and the bad guys are terrible demons. I just don't see anything to identify with or learn from in that.

Acknowledgment that imperfection exists is really different from celebration of imperfection, but everyone's different, so if most other people want to watch things that I find crushingly boring, they are totally welcome to.

Suit yourself. You're free to watch anything you'd like, of course, and there's nothing wrong with that. What annoys me is when people who like the same thing you do insinuates that it makes them better or smarter than the rest of us rubes. As if one's choice in entertainment is the guiding principle in how intelligent one is. Personally, I'd rather not get my insights into a sociopathic mind from someone who's writing fiction. I'll look at the vagaries and imperfections of the world in my nonfiction, thank you very much. Just let me relax afterwords with a little mindless entertainment...

Not that I don't mind shades of gray or anything else, but far too often it comes off as pretentious and condescending to me...

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LetterRip
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It would be good if people would use sadistic psychopath instead of psychopath.

The number of psychopaths is estimated between 1 in 50 and 1 in 100 - psychopath is in many respects an extreme form of narcissim.

Sadists gain pleasure from inflicting pain on others.

While most sadists are psychopaths, most psychopaths aren't sadists.

Criminality overlap between sadists and psychopaths exist because psychopaths care little about the results of their actions on other people (don't care if others get hurt) whereas sadists get please from others getting hurt.

So both are drastically over represented in the criminal population.

We can probably estimate the number of sadists - at a guess I'd put it at 1/1000 - an order of magnitude less than psychopaths. (Most rapists, about 20% of child predators, probably a significant percentage of murderers)

serial killers are about 1/1000000

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TomDavidson
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quote:
But I'm sure if you present Cons with a commie atheist song like Lennon's Imagine, they'll claim to like it, but a Lib would probably refuse to read Atlas Shrugged (not a fair comparison, I know, given the difference in effort required for each, but you get the point.)
*grin* I know far more liberals who've read Atlas Shrugged than I know conservatives who'd admit to liking "Imagine." [Wink]

That said, the study to which I was referring wasn't actually about entertainment at all; it was about both behavior and appearance, and the degree to which individuals reported being disgusted by extreme displays of either.

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LetterRip
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Given that Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory, and Desperate Housewives are all in the top 10 and are rather contrary to conservative values in many respects, and most of the others are value neutral I don't think that values factor in much to entertainment viewing.
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LetterRip
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Hmm, trying to think of conservative TV shows that represent conservative values - 'Joan of Arcadia' maybe?

This list seems nonsensical to me.

http://exurbanleague.com/Home/tabid/40/EntryId/347/The-Top-25-Conservative-TV-Shows-of-the-last-25-Years.aspx

I don't find any of the shows particularly conservative in values, Cosby show perhaps.

[ November 12, 2010, 07:53 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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JWatts
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I don't think the list is particularly bad, though it obviously skews to more geeky conservatives:

My view of the list:
24 - popular with conservatives
Firefly - popular with Geeks, definitely has the libertarian keep your creepy big government to yourself and leave me the hell alone (my wife was pissed, when we watched it and she found out it had been canceled after half a season)
Southpark - popular with libertarian/conservatives
Topgear - wouldn't be 4th on my list, but it's a celebration of machines and technology
Mythbusters- I love it, pretty popular among geeky conservatives
Walker, Texas Ranger - popular with conservatives
NCIS - not sure, but it's a crime drama
King of the Hill - popular with libertarian/conservatives
Dirty Jobs - love it, good show
Buffy - awesome show, popular with geeky/gay conservatives
The Apprentice - watched quite a few, basic capitalism with a overcomb twist
The West Wing - OK, epic fail, I don't know any conservatives that liked that show
X-Files - very popular with geeky/libertarian/conservatives
Fringe - he didn't list it, but if you loved X-Files you should watch at least a couple of episodes of Fringe
Magnum PI - ex-military PI

He obviously left on some shows in the same vein:

Battlestar Galatica (new version) - a must watch with sci-fi conservatives
Hogan's Heroes - celebrated small scale American business acumen
Star Trek Deep Space 9 - had Sisko and Quark
Dukes of Hazzard - classic redneck
The A-Team - mercenaries fighting corrupt government
Home Improvement - it's a show about masculine men in plaid, building stuff

The Big Bang Theory - isn't really conservative, but it makes fun of both sides and is hilarious

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Greg Davidson
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5 of the 6 shows that I watch are among the favorites for Republicans, and only one is among the top shows for Democrats.

I have no idea what this means.

(to clarify that I am not a closet Glenn Beck watcher, here's my list: Amazing Race, Modern Family, American Idol, the Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and the Good Wife)

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JoshuaD
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quote:
The West Wing - OK, epic fail, I don't know any conservatives that liked that show
I'm conservative, and that's one of my all-time favorite shows. I know the same is true for Paladine, who's also a conservative.

It was an amazing show.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I think it might tie in with all the studies I've seen about liberal vs. conservative biological reactions of disgust, too; liberals are, in general, less viscerally disgusted by things than conservatives are, and that might translate into an increased willingness to watch something that they find strange or unnatural.

I arrive at the same conclusion from opposite premises. I find lefties in general more often viscerally disgusted shows that displease them, but less able to tear themselves away from that which disgusts them. A lefty is more likely to torture himself every week an hour of O'Reiley than a conservative is likely to watch the latest Michael Moore movie.
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TomDavidson
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If you don't want to remove it from your presence, you aren't experiencing visceral disgust; you're experiencing horrified fascination.
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Pete at Home
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that's interesting. If liberals are more prone to horrified fascination and conservatives more prone to visceral disgust, then perhaps there might be a genetic component after all. [Big Grin]
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LetterRip
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JWatts,

I think you missed what I said. I didn't say 'shows popular with conservatives' - I said shows which are consistent with/espouse conservative values.

Gratuitous violence isn't really congruent with conservative values, even if many conservatives enjoy shows with gratuitous violence.

[ November 13, 2010, 03:48 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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