Attitudes On 'Cancel Culture' Reflect Political Bent

The power of the Twitter mob to affect the decision-making at magazines and newspapers has familiarized publishers with the idea of "cancel culture." Public calls to fire journalists, cancel subscriptions or boycott advertisers are a routine part of the outrage cycle that keeps people hooked on social media.
Though only 44% of Americans are familiar with the phrase "cancel culture," their perceptions about what it means vary by their political leanings, according to a Pew Research Center study. Those differing attitudes have implications for publications whose readership tends to lean either right or left on the political spectrum.  

Among Americans who have heard of cancel culture, 59% who identify as liberal equated the idea with holding people accountable, while only 36% of conservatives expressed the same opinion. Still, that description of cancel culture was the most popular among both groups.
The biggest difference was in attitudes toward censorship, with 26% of conservatives viewing cancel culture as a form of suppressing speech or rewriting history, compared with only 6% of liberals. Conservative also were more likely to say cancel culture was a mean-spirited way of harming others, stifling opposing views or attacking traditional American society.



Only 7% of liberals and 1% of conservatives described cancel culture as a way to call out racism, sexism or another form of discrimination. In the wake of the #MeToo movement and last summer's mass protests against racism, I would have thought more people would associate cancel culture with punishing people for their alleged or demonstrable behaviors.

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