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An Experimental Evaluation of Readers' Perceptions of Media Bias
Unformatted Document Text:  Media Bias - 7 * The reporter’s quasi-objective attempts to summarize in his/her own words the fundamental reasoning underlying debate on the issue, for positions on all sides of the issue; and * Quotations from proponents of all sides offered by the reporter in support of his/her summaries. Each of these types of statement fulfills a different function within the story: factual statements enable readers to engage in surveillance of their environments, summary statements are correlative in nature, and quotations are essentially evidential. Additionally, each type of statement has an essentially distinct source: facts are facts (larger than either reader or reporter), summaries are implicitly the reporter’s own observations, and quotations expressly the creations of the sources being quoted. None of the previous research cited above has expressly considered which, if any, of these types of statement is most likely to evoke negative responses in readers, including the perception or description on the part of the reader that the statement is "biased." Similarly, none of the theoretical positions cited above would make an indication as to which type of statement evokes the greatest response on their own, in the absence of evocative contextual cues. However, the different structural functions of the different types of statements at least suggests the possibility that readers process them differently, leading in turn to the possibility that different processing procedures might lead to different types of cognitive responses to the different types of statements. Expectations and research questions Consistent with the discussion above and the predictions of Social Judgment theory, we would expect that consumers of news content would vary systematically in their willingness to describe that content as biased. Specifically, we would expect: E1: Consumers who have been "cued" to expect that the content they consume may be biased will be more likely to describe the content as biased than consumers who have not been cued. This is simply the extension of Stevenson and Greene’s research discussed previously; E2: The willingness of consumers to describe news content as biased will be topic dependent, as predicted by Social Judgment theory; and E3: Consumers will be more likely to describe content statements that oppose their own positions as biased than statements that essentially agree with the consumers’ positions, also as predicted by Social Judgment theory. Along with those expectations, we have defined one research question about which we have no expectations:

Authors: D'Alessio, Dave.
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Media Bias - 7
* The reporter’s quasi-objective attempts to summarize in his/her own words the fundamental reasoning
underlying debate on the issue, for positions on all sides of the issue; and
* Quotations from proponents of all sides offered by the reporter in support of his/her summaries.
Each of these types of statement fulfills a different function within the story: factual statements enable readers
to engage in surveillance of their environments, summary statements are correlative in nature, and quotations are
essentially evidential. Additionally, each type of statement has an essentially distinct source: facts are facts (larger than
either reader or reporter), summaries are implicitly the reporter’s own observations, and quotations expressly the
creations of the sources being quoted.
None of the previous research cited above has expressly considered which, if any, of these types of statement
is most likely to evoke negative responses in readers, including the perception or description on the part of the reader
that the statement is "biased." Similarly, none of the theoretical positions cited above would make an indication as to
which type of statement evokes the greatest response on their own, in the absence of evocative contextual cues.
However, the different structural functions of the different types of statements at least suggests the possibility that
readers process them differently, leading in turn to the possibility that different processing procedures might lead to
different types of cognitive responses to the different types of statements.
Expectations and research questions
Consistent with the discussion above and the predictions of Social Judgment theory, we would expect that
consumers of news content would vary systematically in their willingness to describe that content as biased.
Specifically, we would expect:
E1: Consumers who have been "cued" to expect that the content they consume may be biased will be more
likely to describe the content as biased than consumers who have not been cued. This is simply the extension of
Stevenson and Greene’s research discussed previously;
E2: The willingness of consumers to describe news content as biased will be topic dependent, as predicted by
Social Judgment theory; and
E3: Consumers will be more likely to describe content statements that oppose their own positions as biased
than statements that essentially agree with the consumers’ positions, also as predicted by Social Judgment theory.
Along with those expectations, we have defined one research question about which we have no expectations:


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