Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1154244
 
 

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Sources of Negative Attitudes Toward the News Media: Horse Race Coverage, Tabloid Coverage, and the Neglected Role of Elite Opinion Leadership


Jonathan McDonald Ladd


Georgetown University - Department of Government

June 12, 2008


Abstract:     
Americans' attitudes toward the news media as an institution have become dramatically more negative over the past 40 years. This has led to considerable discussion about what causes people to dislike the media. Using a survey experiment to manipulate the considerations respondents use when evaluating the press, I find, consistent with the broader literature on political persuasion but not with most scholarship on attitudes toward the media, that elite opinion leadership can powerfully shape these opinions. Additionally, I find that horse race coverage creates antipathy toward the press among politically aware citizens on both sides of the political spectrum and that tabloid coverage has a small negative effect on opinions regardless of predispositions. Contrary to some claims in the literature, I find no detectable effect of news negativity.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: Public opinion, mass media, trust, political communication

JEL Classification: C90

working papers series





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Date posted: July 2, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Ladd, Jonathan McDonald, Sources of Negative Attitudes Toward the News Media: Horse Race Coverage, Tabloid Coverage, and the Neglected Role of Elite Opinion Leadership (June 12, 2008). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1154244 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1154244

Contact Information

Jonathan McDonald Ladd (Contact Author)
Georgetown University - Department of Government ( email )
ICC, Suite 681
Washington, DC 20057-1034
United States
202-687-7112 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://government.georgetown.edu/jml89
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