How partisan voters detect deception in polarizing political media

International Communication Association 71st Annual Conference, Political Communication division, Denver, CO, United States.

Abstract: The public considers politicians to be deceptive. Empirical research, however, indicates voters fail to notice deception from politicians in practice. An experiment was run in which U.S. voters (n = 133 Democrats, n = 138 Republicans) watched a partisan news interview featuring a senator. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: a Fox News interviewer accusing (or not accusing) a Democrat of deception, or a CNN interviewer accusing (or not accusing) a Republican of deception. Consistent with truth-default theory (TDT), voters distrusted a politician through elevated suspicion toward the politician, followed by perceiving deceptive messaging. Also in line with TDT, in-group/out-group bias drove perceptions of deception. However, moderated multiple mediator modeling indicated voters reacted the same regardless of whether the media accused the politician of deception.

David Clementson  Tong Xie 

Related Research


Protest reporting across clientelist media systems

Harlow, S., Camaj, L., & Pjesivac, I. (2022). Protest reporting across clientelist media systems. International Communication Gazette. Advance online publication: doi.org/10.1177/1748048522114686 Abstract:Most protest paradigm studies examining news media’s portrayals of protesters are based on an […]

Ivanka Pjesivac
read more
Listening for The Echo: How Our Students Are Stepping Into, Embracing Community Journalism

Amanda Bright, “Listening for The Echo: How Our Students Are Stepping Into, Embracing Community Journalism,” Teaching Journalism & Mass Communication, Vol. 12, no. 2 (2022), pp. 77-80 http://www.aejmc.us/spig/journal Abstract: The […]

Amanda Bright
read more