Though scientists have long suspected that human fetuses can see beyond the bullshit propagated by television news networks, no previous study has demonstrated this directly.
But now, Dr Sabina Nedović of the Fetal and Neonatal Research Lab, Durham University, has identified what she calls the Cable News Cry (CNC).
Dr Nedović and her team of researchers alternated television channels between CNN and Fox News before pregnant women between 16 and 32 weeks of gestation. Scans conducted during exposure revealed that fetuses were more likely to make "laughter faces" when exposed to CNN and "cry faces" when listening to Fox News. However, disgust was typically exhibited as a response to both networks by day six of the exposure.
"We have discovered that babies can hear within the womb, and although they cannot understand the intricacies of human language, they can pick up on tone and thereby evaluate sincerity," said Dr Nedović.
We found grossed-out faces are a typical response to Tucker Carlson, while Richard Quest induced a panicked response. Exposure to Greg Gutfeld caused initial confusion, flowed by a violent vomiting action that only the voice of Christiane Amanpour could reverse."
The fetus, however, appears to adapt to prolonged exposure so that after six weeks of news broadcasts, the unborn seem to enjoy the channel to which they are most accustomed.
"We believe repeated exposure to Fox News before birth could help to establish a Republican preference at birth, which could be important when thinking about vote rigging a few decades down the line," said Dr Nedović.
Oddly, fetal reactions to Richard Quest do not appear to adapt to prolonged exposure, and positive fetal responses towards him are yet to be recorded.
"The next step is to examine whether some infants show less 'negative' responses to Richard Quest outside of the womb." A follow-up study is in the pipeline, but early indications suggest all infants below eighteen months find Richard Quest creepy.
"It is vital that future research explores how fetal exposure to news may be used to optimize the partisan bias of future generations. We expect to find that exposure to Fox News increases the risk of a conservative, Republican-leaning fetus, whilst CNN exposure increases the risk of a progressive, Democrat-leaning baby, although there could be a possibility that CNN causes autism. Only time will tell."
Dr Nedović added, "Our findings have important implications for the role of television and other media exposure in the risk of birth defects and learning difficulties, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and subspeciality to conspiratorial propaganda."
When questioned on the ethics of her studies, Dr Nedović insisted,
"We worked hard to ensure the fetal specimens were not damaged by our studies, owing to their early stage of development in the womb. We are confident that any future research will hold up to the same scrutiny on a moral basis."