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Assessing News Bias in the Age of a Polarized Media Environment: How Pre-Existing Skepticism Toward a Partisan News Outlet Affects Perceived News Bias

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Abstract:

This study investigates how people identifying with a political party assess news bias in a polarized news media environment. We conducted an online experiment with a between-subjects design. Participants (N = 228) read the same news story, but were told that the news was from an either pro-Republican, neutral, or pro-Democrat news outlet. We found that attributing a news story to a news outlet aligned with an opposing party influenced the perception of news bias, irrespective of the leaning of the story. More importantly, partisans perceived the news to be biased only if they had pre-existing skepticism toward the news outlet. Our findings suggest that cross-cutting exposure (i.e. consuming news from outlets aligned with an opposing party) may not produce desirable outcomes because pre-existing skepticism towards an out-group news outlet can undermine the perceived credibility of the news produced by the outlet.
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Association:
Name: ICA's 68th Annual Conference
URL:
http://www.icahdq.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1355834_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Kim, Minchul., Cao, Xiaoxia. and Grabe, Maria. "Assessing News Bias in the Age of a Polarized Media Environment: How Pre-Existing Skepticism Toward a Partisan News Outlet Affects Perceived News Bias" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ICA's 68th Annual Conference, Hilton Prague, Prague, Czech Republic, May 22, 2018 <Not Available>. 2018-10-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1355834_index.html>

APA Citation:

Kim, M. , Cao, X. and Grabe, M. E. , 2018-05-22 "Assessing News Bias in the Age of a Polarized Media Environment: How Pre-Existing Skepticism Toward a Partisan News Outlet Affects Perceived News Bias" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ICA's 68th Annual Conference, Hilton Prague, Prague, Czech Republic Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2018-10-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1355834_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This study investigates how people identifying with a political party assess news bias in a polarized news media environment. We conducted an online experiment with a between-subjects design. Participants (N = 228) read the same news story, but were told that the news was from an either pro-Republican, neutral, or pro-Democrat news outlet. We found that attributing a news story to a news outlet aligned with an opposing party influenced the perception of news bias, irrespective of the leaning of the story. More importantly, partisans perceived the news to be biased only if they had pre-existing skepticism toward the news outlet. Our findings suggest that cross-cutting exposure (i.e. consuming news from outlets aligned with an opposing party) may not produce desirable outcomes because pre-existing skepticism towards an out-group news outlet can undermine the perceived credibility of the news produced by the outlet.


 
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