Does Proclaimed Doubt in Media Spill Over to Doubt in Science? A Laboratory Experiment in the Context of Climate Change
33 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2018 Last revised: 8 Jun 2018
Date Written: May 30, 2018
Labeling news as fake is a recent phenomenon occurring predominantly online, and increasingly in political online environments. This paper investigates the influence of proclaimed doubt in media independence on trust in news- and scientific reports on climate change. Evidence from a preregistered laboratory experiment does not suggest that reading a media-critic statement affects perceived trust in the media-, or the scientific source. Bayesian analyses provide a practical interpretation of the null findings, and further analyses show that the proclamation decreases trust in the scientific source when subjects read the media article first. Findings add to the emerging literature on fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles, suggesting that labeling stories or outlets as fake news may not affect public opinion. Further research is needed to substantiate this conclusion.
Keywords: climate change, experiment, fake news, media, skepticism, trust
JEL Classification: H41, Q54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation