Media Source, Selective Exposure, and Susceptibility to False Information
50 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2017 Last revised: 22 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 21, 2017
When people encounter ambiguous news that may or may not be true, do they become more suspicious if it is from an ideologically uncongenial news outlet, or do they swallow news regardless of source? In a survey experiment, we presented study participants with a news article excerpt that varied by source shown (CNN, Fox News, or no source) and content (true or false information), and measured their trust and interest in the story. We found that respondents did not blindly judge articles based on news source, regardless of their own partisanship and ideology. Contrary to prevailing views on the polarization and politicization of news outlets, our study suggests that source cues are not as important as information content.
Keywords: media bias, hostile media effect, selective exposure, source cues, misinformation, Trump
JEL Classification: L82, D72, D80, D83, D91
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation