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Reading between the Numbers: The Use of Numerical Evidence in Political News and its Impact on the Public.

Every day, we are exposed to a vast array of news about politics. We receive such news via different channels, be it newspaper articles, television shows, social media platforms, or simply conversations about politics with friends. Much of the information we receive contains numbers, such as crime statistics, immigration numbers, or opinion polls. These numbers aim to provide evidence for the argumentation made, yet it has been found that we connect numbers with credibility even when we cannot judge their validity. In times of fake news and filter bubbles, it is becoming difficult for us to come to a truly informed opinion based on facts. This research addresses this problem and aims to shed light on how and which numbers enter the news, as well as what the subconscious effects of them are on what we believe to be true. The project seeks to answer these two questions by first looking at whether journalists give preference to press releases when they contain numerical evidence. Second, the project examines whether recent numbers in the news were framed differently across several countries and news outlets. Third, it tests whether people believe news reports that contain numerical evidence more readily than reports without such evidence and asks whether this belief is strengthened over time if people see the same numbers repeatedly. Fourth, the project looks at whether people spread news that contain numbers more readily to their private circles, both onand offline.
Date:1 Oct 2017  →  30 Sep 2019
Disciplines:Other economics and business, Citizenship, immigration and political inequality, International and compartive politics, Multilevel governance, National politics, Political behaviour, Political organisations and institutions, Political theory and methodology, Public administration, Other political science