The Role of Source, Headline and Expressive Responding in Political News Evaluation

6 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2019 Last revised: 31 Jan 2019

See all articles by Maurice Jakesch

Maurice Jakesch

Cornell University; Cornell University - Cornell Tech NYC

Moran Koren

Harvard University - Center of Mathematical Sciences and Applications

Anna Evtushenko

Cornell University

Mor Naaman

Cornell University - Cornell Tech NYC

Date Written: December 5, 2018

Abstract

Studies have observed that readers are more likely to trust news sources that align with their own political leanings. We ask: is the higher reported trust in politically aligned news sources due to perceived institutional trustworthiness or does it merely reflect a preference for the political claims aligned sources publish? Furthermore, do respondents report their actual beliefs about news or do they choose to express their political commitments instead? We conducted a US-based experiment (N=400) using random association of news claims to news sources as well as financial incentives to robustly identify the main drivers of trust in news and to evaluate response bias. We observe a comparatively weak effect of source on news evaluation and find that response differences are largely due to the alignment of the respondents' politics and the news claim. We also find significant evidence for expressive responding, in particular among right-leaning participants.

Keywords: news media, source credibility, bias, expressive responding, motivated reasoning, media psychology, financial incentives

Suggested Citation

Jakesch, Maurice and Koren, Moran and Evtushenko, Anna and Naaman, Mor, The Role of Source, Headline and Expressive Responding in Political News Evaluation (December 5, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3306403 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3306403

Maurice Jakesch (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Cornell University - Cornell Tech NYC ( email )

111 8th Avenue #302
New York, NY 10011
United States

Moran Koren

Harvard University - Center of Mathematical Sciences and Applications ( email )

20 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
6502658115 (Phone)
94043 (Fax)

Anna Evtushenko

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Mor Naaman

Cornell University - Cornell Tech NYC ( email )

111 8th Avenue #302
New York, NY 10011
United States

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