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Love it or leave it? The Relationship between Polarization and Credibility of Traditional and Partisan Media Kang Hui Baek, Mark Coddington, Maegan Stephens,

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Presentation on theme: "Love it or leave it? The Relationship between Polarization and Credibility of Traditional and Partisan Media Kang Hui Baek, Mark Coddington, Maegan Stephens,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Love it or leave it? The Relationship between Polarization and Credibility of Traditional and Partisan Media Kang Hui Baek, Mark Coddington, Maegan Stephens, Larissa Williams, Thomas J. Johnson, Jennifer Brundidge The University of Austin

2 BACKGROUND Selective Exposure & Polarization Selective Exposure & Credibility

3 Credibility & Polarization? H1: Individuals who perceive partisan news sources (MSNBC and FOX) as credible will be more polarized in their political attitudes, even after controlling for political and demographic attitudes.

4 Credibility & Polarization? RQ1: Does perceived credibility of balanced sources (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, and broadcast television news) link to increased or decreased levels of political polarization after controlling for political and demographic attitudes? RQ2: Do polarized political attitudes link to increased or decreased perceived credibility of partisan sources (MSNBC and FOX) after controlling for political and demographic attitudes, as well as with time spent with media? RQ3: Do polarized political attitudes link to increased or decreased perceived credibility of balanced sources (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, and broadcast television news) after controlling for political and demographic attitudes,as well as with time spent with media?

5 METHOD NAES 2008 Data (n=16,305) Believability (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and broadcast television news) Polarization (Stroud, 2010)

6 Control variables Demographics: age, gender, education, race, and income Political orientation: political ideology, partisanship, political interest, political knowledge Time spent with sources: political discussion, broadcast or cable, talk radio, newspaper, online

7 Independent variable Believability: How would you rate the believability of (the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and broadcast television news)? -believe all or most of what the organization says -believe almost nothing of what they say

8 Dependent variable Polarization -the absolute value of the difference between favorability scores of McCain and Obama (Stroud, 2010) -Higher scores indicated higher levels of polarization (0=very unfavorable; 10=very favorable)

9 Results (1 of 3) H1: not supported. The less respondents believed information from MSNBC (β=-.47, p<.01), the more likely they were to have polarized views.

10 Results (2 of 3) RQ1: The less respondents believed information from the New York Times (β=-.39, p<.05), CNN (β=-.55, p<.01), and broadcast television news (β=-.39, p<.05), the more likely they were to have polarized views.

11 Results (3 of 3) RQ2: Polarization was negatively related to the perceived credibility of MSNBC (β=.-05, p<.01) and not significantly related to Fox News. RQ3: The less polarized respondents views, the more likely they were to believe sources from the New York Times (β=.-06, p<.05) and CNN (β=.-06, p<.01).

12 DISCUSSION Why do the credibility perception of the liberal news source corresponded to polarization levels but the conservative news source does not? Conservatives find the media biased Liberals may also be turning to conservative sources Why do those who rate balanced sources as credible have decreased polarization scores? Balance less appealing to those seeking same viewpoint Liberals seeking out a variety of sources Perceived partisan judgments about NYT, CNN, and broadcast.

13 LIMITATIONS Context Specific No Causal Claims Partisan/Balanced Distinction FUTURE RESEARCH Explore Other Contexts Liberal/Conservative Sources Liberal/Conservative indexes


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