Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Be specific: Perceived media bias can lead to political action

Date:
May 13, 2011
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Politicians should be careful when they rail against mainstream news media. A new study shows that perceived bias of media outlets can lead to increased political engagement -- but only on specific issues. When there is a general perception of bias in the news media it actually results in increased apathy among citizens.

Politicians should be careful when they rail against mainstream news media. A study from North Carolina State University shows that perceived bias of media outlets can lead to increased political engagement -- but only on specific issues. When there is a general perception of bias in the news media it actually results in increased apathy among citizens.

"With this study, we wanted to see whether people's perception of media bias affected their political participation, beyond voting," says Dr. Andrew Binder, an assistant professor of communication at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. "For example, if people think the news media do not reflect their views, are they less politically engaged? Or does it spur them to take political action?" Answer: It depends.

In the first part of the study, researchers asked 485 survey respondents if they felt news media were biased against their views in general. The respondents were then asked a series of questions designed to capture the extent of each participant's political engagement -- from working for a political campaign to writing a "letter to the editor."

The researchers found no direct evidence of a connection between perceived bias and political engagement, but did find some evidence that perceived bias undermined both people's trust in government and belief that they could influence government. Ultimately, this indirect influence also undermined their likelihood of engaging in political behavior.

In the second part of the study, researchers asked about a particularly controversial political issue. Specifically, 508 respondents were asked whether they felt mainstream media were biased against their views on stem cell research. They were then asked about the extent of their political engagement in regard to stem cell research.

On this specific issue, the researchers found a direct link between perceived media bias and an increase in political action.

"The people who perceived the most media bias on stem cell research were also the most willing to join a demonstration or take other political action," Binder says. "I think this shows that people are more likely to get involved in the political process if they do not feel their views are represented by the media on specific issues. That does not hold true for people who feel a general disconnect between their overarching views and the media.

"This has clear implications for politicians and interest groups. It seems to be far less effective for them to make sweeping claims that the media are universally biased than it is for them to attack the media on specific issues."

The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

NC State's Department of Communication is part of the university's College of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shirley S. Ho, Andrew R. Binder, Amy B. Becker, Patricia Moy, Dietram A. Scheufele, Dominique Brossard, Albert C. Gunther. The Role of Perceptions of Media Bias in General and Issue-Specific Political Participation. Mass Communication and Society, Volume 14, Issue 3, 2011, Pages 343 - 374 DOI: 10.1080/15205436.2010.491933

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Be specific: Perceived media bias can lead to political action." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110513112250.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2011, May 13). Be specific: Perceived media bias can lead to political action. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110513112250.htm
North Carolina State University. "Be specific: Perceived media bias can lead to political action." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110513112250.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins