Post-Truth Overexposure: Media Consumption and Confidence in Institutions
No c4ur3, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science
Does increased consumption of media affect how the public views the institutions of government and media? This study analyzes the relationships between time spent consuming television and Internet, where a respondent gets their news from (television vs. Internet), and confidence in these institutions. I predict an inverse relationship between exposure to television and Internet and confidence in media and government. I further hypothesize that people who get their news primarily from the Internet have less confidence in these institutions than those who get their news from television. I test this relationship using a sample of 370 respondents from the 2016 General Social Survey (GSS) dataset, controlling for race, gender, political views, education, respondents' family income at the age of 16, and age. OLS regression analysis shows that more hours spent watching television positively impacts confidence in media, and that those who get their news from the Internet have less confidence in the media, as do conservatives, regardless of media consumption. No independent variables determine confidence in government, which is only associated negatively with being conservative. A second regression model using confidence in press instead of media shows that females are significantly less likely to trust the press and that people of color are significantly more likely to trust the press. The relationships from the first model retained their significance. This model shows a higher significance level for the conservative relationship. These differences are discussed along with recommendations for further research.
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