ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS—SOMETIMES

Authors


Abstract

Three telephone surveys conducted during different phases of the Vietnam War (N=401, 199, and 299, respectively) were conducted to determine how changes in events and in sources’ actions relevant to those events affect the perceived credibility of various information sources. Data linking four sources (students, the Stanford University News Service, CBS News, and the White House) to three issues (air pollution, unemployment, the war) indicate that ascribed credibility: (a) increased with the purported objectivity of the source, (b) decreased as the issue became more controversial, and (c) varied overtime as a function of the actions of the various sources and changes in events related to the issues. Results are discussed in terms of how changes in the environment located by major news events are related to changes in the ascribed credibility of various information sources.

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