The Impact of Individual and Interpersonal Factors on Perceived News Media Bias

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Abstract

A large percentage of the public believes that the news media are biased, and the majority of these individuals consider the direction of bias to be against their own viewpoints. Past research has examined how individual factors such as strength of partisanship or extent of political involvement heighten bias perceptions, but little attention has been paid to interpersonal factors such as the ideological similarity or dissimilarity of personal communication networks. Results of a national survey show that perceptions of media bias were unrelated to the overall amount of discussion but were positively related to conversations with ideologically like–minded individuals. Moreover, the impact of conversations with similar others was stronger among Republicans than among Democrats, a finding consistent with recent work on news self–coverage of media bias claims.

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