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An Experimental Evaluation of Readers' Perceptions of Media Bias
Unformatted Document Text:  Media Bias - 6 written so as to suggest the speaker would be biased or unbiased on the issue in question. Their finding, that readers evaluated the bias of the statements based on what they had been told about the source’s bias rather than the actual content of the statement, suggests that one of the so-called "limited processing" models of how people react to persuasive information may apply: when evaluating information the user is disinterested in or unable to process directly, the user evaluates the information on the basis of contextual cues (including the identity of the message source; Chaiken, 1980; Petty & Cacioppo, 1984). In summary, news readers can and do deploy a number of cognitive routines designed to simplify their evaluation of information. How these routines influence their evaluations is critical to our understanding of the perception of media bias on the part of news consumers. Applied Social Judgment theory The above research summary suggests a mechanism for processing news content consistent with Social Judgment theory in which media users regard news content from the perspective of their idiosyncratic positions. They accept, and make no particular reaction to, material close to their positions, that is, material which falls into their latitudes of acceptance. However, they actively reject material which falls into their latitudes of rejection, and one means of actively rejecting material is to describe it, overtly or inwardly, as "biased." The applicability of Social Judgment theory in examining this process is that it also explains why disparate outcomes have sometimes been observed. For instance, Giner-Sorolla and Chaiken found that while a group of people made ideologically systematic rejections of certain types of material related to the Middle East conflict, the same people did not do so for the abortion issue. Social Judgment theory indicates that the rejection of messages (and, in fact, the sizes of the latitudes of acceptance and rejection) is topic-dependent, and is determined in part by such factors as the salience of the topic to the individual, and so is topic-dependent. Structural elements of news Notably absent from the research, apart from the work on the influence of sources, is an examination of what structural elements in a news report cause the greatest reaction, and are thus most likely to lead to charges of bias. Examined from a structural standpoint, a simple news report (as opposed to news analysis or op-ed material) consists of three basic types of statements: * Basic factual material (e.g. who, what, where, how, when) that is readily verifiable by anyone interested in doing so;

Authors: D'Alessio, Dave.
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Media Bias - 6
written so as to suggest the speaker would be biased or unbiased on the issue in question. Their finding, that readers
evaluated the bias of the statements based on what they had been told about the source’s bias rather than the actual
content of the statement, suggests that one of the so-called "limited processing" models of how people react to
persuasive information may apply: when evaluating information the user is disinterested in or unable to process
directly, the user evaluates the information on the basis of contextual cues (including the identity of the message
source; Chaiken, 1980; Petty & Cacioppo, 1984).
In summary, news readers can and do deploy a number of cognitive routines designed to simplify their
evaluation of information. How these routines influence their evaluations is critical to our understanding of the
perception of media bias on the part of news consumers.
Applied Social Judgment theory
The above research summary suggests a mechanism for processing news content consistent with Social
Judgment theory in which media users regard news content from the perspective of their idiosyncratic positions. They
accept, and make no particular reaction to, material close to their positions, that is, material which falls into their
latitudes of acceptance. However, they actively reject material which falls into their latitudes of rejection, and one
means of actively rejecting material is to describe it, overtly or inwardly, as "biased."
The applicability of Social Judgment theory in examining this process is that it also explains why disparate
outcomes have sometimes been observed. For instance, Giner-Sorolla and Chaiken found that while a group of people
made ideologically systematic rejections of certain types of material related to the Middle East conflict, the same
people did not do so for the abortion issue. Social Judgment theory indicates that the rejection of messages (and, in fact,
the sizes of the latitudes of acceptance and rejection) is topic-dependent, and is determined in part by such factors as the
salience of the topic to the individual, and so is topic-dependent.
Structural elements of news
Notably absent from the research, apart from the work on the influence of sources, is an examination of what
structural elements in a news report cause the greatest reaction, and are thus most likely to lead to charges of bias.
Examined from a structural standpoint, a simple news report (as opposed to news analysis or op-ed material) consists of
three basic types of statements:
* Basic factual material (e.g. who, what, where, how, when) that is readily verifiable by anyone interested in
doing so;


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