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Effects of Media Criticism on Gatekeeping Trust and Implications for Agenda Setting


Corresponding author: Raymond J. Pingree; e-mail:


This study explores causes and consequences of gatekeeping trust, a new media trust construct defined as trust that the news media selects stories based on judgments of the importance of problems. If this form of trust—rooted in a misunderstanding of news story selection practices—is what drives agenda setting effects, these effects can be seen as a miscommunication between the media and the public, and perhaps a correctable one. An experiment manipulating exposure to and expression of media criticism finds gatekeeping trust can be reduced without also affecting more desirable forms of media trust. Gatekeeping trust is also the only media trust construct to positively predict an indicator of agenda cueing and negatively predict an indicator of agenda reasoning.

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