TsfatiCappellaMP.pdf - See discussions stats and author profiles for this publication at https/www.researchgate.net/publication/258131128 Do People

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See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: Do People Watch what they Do Not Trust? Article in Communication Research · October 2003 DOI: 10.1177/0093650203253371 CITATIONS 152 READS 576 2 authors: Yariv Tsfati University of Haifa 62 PUBLICATIONS 1,881 CITATIONS SEE PROFILE Joseph N Cappella University of Pennsylvania 208 PUBLICATIONS 7,059 CITATIONS SEE PROFILE All content following this page was uploaded by Yariv Tsfati on 08 November 2015. The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file.
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Why Do People Watch News They Do Not Trust? The Need for Cognition as a Moderator in the Association Between News Media Skepticism and Exposure Yariv Tsfati Department of Communication University of Haifa, Israel Joseph N. Cappella The Annenberg School for Communication University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Prior research has found only modest associations between news media trust and ex- posure. Many news skeptics report moderate to high levels of mainstream news ex- posure, despite their mistrust of mainstream news. Why do people watch news they do not trust? This study investigates the moderating role played by the psychological construct of “the need for cognition” (NFC) in this association. An NFC × Media Skepticism interaction is hypothesized and tested on survey data ( N = 424). Results provide evidence for such an interaction. For those with a reduced NFC, mainstream media skepticism is strongly associated with news exposure. As NFC increases, the association between news skepticism and exposure disappears. It is concluded that people consume news they do not trust when their media skepticism is irrelevant to their motivation for news exposure. Trust was called by social scientists “the chicken soup of social life” (Uslaner, 2002, p. 1). Research in the social sciences shows that trust plays an important part in many human interactions (for a review, see Uslaner, 2002). For example, trust in politicians is related to political participation, trust in our teammates is related to teamwork, and trust in health care providers facilitates effective treat- ment. Media scholars investigating the correlation between trust in news organi- zations and news media exposure, however, have found only minor, albeit in MEDIA PSYCHOLOGY, 7, 251–271 Copyright © 2005, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Requests for reprints should be sent to Yariv Tsfati, University of Haifa, Department of Communi- cation, Haifa, 31905 Israel. E-mail: [email protected]
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most cases significant, associations (Kiousis, 2001; Rimmer & Weaver, 1987). In terms of explained variance, news media skepticism accounts for only a frac- tion of the variance in news exposure. In a previous study (Tsfati & Cappella, 2003), we estimated that there is a minimal difference—only 1.6 days of watch- ing national television news per week—between the amount of time the most skeptical and least skeptical audiences spend watching national network televi- sion news, and that even the most skeptical audience members watch the na- tional and local news on television and read daily newspapers.
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