How web comments affect perceptions of political interviews and journalistic control.

Political Psychology, 40, 815-836. doi:10.1111/pops.12560

Abstract: People are often exposed to polarized viewpoints in web comment sections. Inspired by attribution theory and framing theory, this article tests the effects of comments that frame a politician or a journalist as triggering evasiveness in a media interview. We compare attributions ascribing deceptiveness to the politician versus external attributions implicating the media situation. In the first experiment, comment sections affect perceptions of evasiveness, credibility of the politician relative to the journalist, and people’s attitudes toward the politician and journalist. A second study replicates, and voters type comments which largely reflect the comments to which they were exposed. Also, perceptions of external control by the journalist affect perceptions of the politician. The article extends attribution theory and framing theory via commonly encountered online exposure which affects people’s perceptions of politicians as deceptive relative to their journalistic arbiters.

David Clementson 

Related Research


Context clues: News audiences and their higher valuation of contextualist journalistic roles

Abstract: This study explores the news audiences’ perceptions of journalistic roles, in particular the contextualist role, through a U.S. nationally-representative survey. As members of the public lose trust and interest in the media, some outlets are turning to forms of reporting like constructive/solutions journalism to provide a greater context to news consumers. Our survey shows […]

Kyser Lough
read more
Journalism and Citizenship: Findings from a Pilot Course at the University of Georgia, Kettering Foundation

As citizens’ trust in institutions has plummeted over the last four decades, so too has citizens’ trust in the news media. Citizens are capable of enhancing, even performing, the work of journalism, and journalists are capable of enhancing the work of citizens. When journalists and citizens work together on reporting projects, journalists’ trust in citizens’ […]

Lee B. BeckerTudor Vlad
read more