Partisan Source Cues and Trust in Global News

37 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2024

See all articles by Ashley Blum

Ashley Blum

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Adam J. Berinsky

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date Written: January 11, 2024

Abstract

Republicans and Democrats differ widely in their expressed trust in major news outlets, expressing high levels of trust in sources aligned with their partisan views and distrust in sources seen as aligned with the views of the other party. We ask how these attitudes toward sources translate into how people evaluate actual news content related to foreign affairs. Study participants are asked to evaluate actual news content drawn from major news outlets with or without source information included. We compare blind condition evaluations to non-blind condition evaluations to estimate the source effect. We find that while partisan source cues do have a significant effect on participants' trust in global news reporting, the effects are very small relative to what might be expected given the extremely large partisan differences in expressed trust. Thus, such source cue effects seem unlikely to explain the large partisan differences in beliefs that characterize modern American politics.

Keywords: media and politics, political communications

Suggested Citation

Blum, Ashley and Berinsky, Adam J. and Rand, David G., Partisan Source Cues and Trust in Global News (January 11, 2024). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2023-10, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4692096 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4692096

Ashley Blum (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( email )

30 Wadsworth Street (Rm 470)
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Adam J. Berinsky

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

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