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Finding perceptions of partisan news media bias in an unlikely place

Journal Contribution - e-publication

When citizens perceive news coverage as ideologically slanted, their crucial trust in the (traditional) news media decreases. Research on the so-called hostile media phenomenon indeed shows that an alarming number of people consider news coverage as disadvantaging their own political preferences and favoring opposing (partisan) views. However, most of this research is conducted in an experimental setting, and we do not know how this works in the real world, where citizens predominantly consume news from media outlets they trust and perceive as ideologically like-minded. By questioning Belgian citizens about their perceptions of partisan bias in their preferred news outlet, this study shows that the hostile media phenomenon also holds in a least likely context; even content produced by “friendly” news sources is seen as ideologically slanted, potentially contributing to citizens’ general distrust in the news media. Moreover, we find that especially right-wing citizens and strong partisans believe their news outlet disadvantages their preferred party.
Journal: The international journal of press/politics
ISSN: 1940-1612
Volume: 27
Pages: 120 - 137
Publication year:2022
Keywords:A1 Journal article