Key finding: fact checking increased trust in media if combined with articles defending journalism.
Bias accusations have eroded trust in journalism to impartially check facts. Traditionally journalists have avoided responding to such accusations, resulting in an imbalanced flow of arguments about the news media.
This study tests what would happen if journalists spoke up more in defense of their profession, while simultaneously also testing effects of doing more fact checking. Fact checking was beneficial in terms of three democratically desirable outcomes: media trust, self-confidence in their own ability to decide what is true in politics, and intention to use a news portal in the future–only when defense of journalism stories were also present.
Authors: Raymond J. Pingree, Brian Watson, Mingxiao Sui, Kathleen Searles, Nathan P. Kalmoe, Joshua P. Darr, Martina Santia, Kirill Bryanov