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Distrustful, politically extreme consumers of news are also the most biased readers




Copies of the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers sit on display at a newsstand on Exchange Place on June 25, 2007 in New York City.
Copies of the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers sit on display at a newsstand on Exchange Place on June 25, 2007 in New York City.
Michael Nagle/Getty Images

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Americans might think the news is growing more biased, but the news consumer might want to take a look in the mirror.

That’s according to a Gallup and Knight Foundation online experiment from earlier this year which looked at people’s biases, their trust in media and their perceptions of bias in media.

During the experiment, participants were asked to read content and rate its trustworthiness -- some participants saw the sources while others did not. The blind group was more generally trusting of the content. Attribution of sources lowered the rated trustworthiness of certain outlets, such as Vox and Breitbart News. And when the source was uncovered, readers’ bias drove their perception.  

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most politically extreme and wary readers were also the most biased.

We dive into these results.

With guest host Kyle Stokes.

Guests:

Jonathan Rothwell, principal economist at Gallup and a research consultant for the partnership between Gallup and the Knight Foundation, which designed and executed the experiment; he is the author of the forthcoming book “A Republic of Equals” which looks at the political economy of social inequality and access to markets; he tweets @jtrothwell

Jane Kirtley, professor of media ethics and law at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota

Jeffrey McCall, professor of communication at DePauw University in Indiana and former  journalist; he is a columnist for The Hill; he tweets @Prof_McCal



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