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

6 Nov

New School University, Media Studies, Fall 2008

William P. Eveland, Jr. and Dhavan V. Shah, “The Impact of Individual and Interpersonal Factors on Perceived News Media Bias”, Political Psychology, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Mar., 2003), pp. 101-117, International Society of Political Psychology

 

This article takes a closer look at perceived media credibility and the “hostile media phenomenon” with a political bent, proposing that Republicans will perceive more media bias against their views than Democrats, independent of source content bias. While past research has examined political involvement and partisanship in relation to the perception of bias in the media, Eveland and Shah shed light on the importance of interpersonal factors and social networks in the formation of perceived media bias.

Eveland and Shah base their argument upon a national mail survey conducted in 1999 and 2000 in which people were asked to quantify their stance and opinions on a numeric scale. While the results show that discussion with ideologically like-minded people positively affected individual’s perceptions of media bias. However the survey and its results were unfocused in that media were left unspecified. This study is limited by lack of specified research; more focused research needs to be conducted to strengthen the argument. One means of improving this study would be to conduct another survey with a larger sample and a more focused questionnaire. This could take the form of media specific or qualitative communication surveys, in effect determining which media channels are most affected by factors outside of source content and what modes and types of personal communication affect perceived media bias the most, relatively speaking. Another means of improving this initial study would be to include research on the affect of virtual social networks and modes of communication in regards to generated realities, the formation of opinion, and perceived media bias online.

Evaland and Shah construct a foundation from which further study and inquiry can build upon in the future. While by no means an all inclusive study, this article provides the background and foresight for future endeavors in understanding the subjective undercurrents of the hostile media phenomenon.

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