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Media Source, Selective Exposure, and Susceptibility to False Information

44 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2017  

Katherine Clayton

Dartmouth College

Jase Davis

Dartmouth College

Kristen Hinckley

Dartmouth College

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Date Written: September 9, 2017

Abstract

We investigate citizens' perceptions of ideological bias in the media and their selective exposure to ideologically congenial sources when the news contains false information. 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). We then measured the participants' perceived accuracy of the information and their interest in reading the rest of the article. We find that while the effects of news source are mixed, information content has consistently large effects. Contrary to the common claim that American people have low confidence in the media, they tend to believe news stories irrespective of their source and of whether they contain false information. They also tend to exhibit a stronger interest in reading more when the article excerpt provides false -- and more surprising -- information, regardless of source.

Keywords: media bias, hostile media effect, selective exposure, misinformation

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 (September 9, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=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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