Media skepticism and climate of opinion perception

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Several theoretical standpoints argue that the news media have a strong influence on audiences' perceptions of the social opinion climate. However, these theories sometimes ignore the active and critical role played by audiences in their interaction with news sources. This paper explores the association between opinion climate perceptions and audience mistrust of the news media. Data collected during the US presidential campaign of 2000 (TV = 501) are used to test the hypothesis that media skepticism plays a part in the perception of the climate of opinion. Findings show that when people did not trust the media, they tended to reject the mediated climate of opinion. On the other hand, when people had faith in the media, they tended to consistently converge with the media's election predictions. Implications for media scholars are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-82
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A previous draft of this paper was presented at the WAPOR th Annual Conference, Rome, Italy, . The author is grateful to Joseph Cappella and Vincent Price for their permission to use the data and for their helpful comments on previous versions of the reported research. The author also thanks Elihu Katz, Jonathan Cohen, and the three anonymous reviewers for their suggestions. The Electronic Dialogue project was funded by Pew Charitable Trusts. The views expressed are those of the author alone. The article was first submitted to IJPOR October , . The final version was received June , .

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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