Media Source, Selective Exposure, and Susceptibility to False Information

50 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2017 Last revised: 22 Dec 2017

Katherine Clayton

Dartmouth College

Jase Davis

Dartmouth College

Kristen Hinckley

Dartmouth College

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Date Written: December 21, 2017

Abstract

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

Clayton, Katherine and Davis, Jase and Hinckley, Kristen and Horiuchi, Yusaku, Media Source, Selective Exposure, and Susceptibility to False Information (December 21, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3035272 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3035272

Katherine Clayton

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hinman Box 3936
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Jase Davis

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Kristen Hinckley

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.dartmouth.edu/horiuchi/

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