Trusting the Press and Political Trust: A Conditional Relationship

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46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the fact that the media serves as a vital source of information about politics, the relation between media trust and political trust has largely been overlooked, especially outside the USA. Adopting a comparative approach, this study examines the way(s) in which trust in the press and political trust are related across dissimilar media environments. Analyzing survey data from 32 European countries, we found that while trust in the press and political trust are positively related, the magnitude of the relation differs across countries. This variation is explained by three structural components within the media environment: media autonomy, journalistic professionalism, and party/press parallelism. The multilevel models indicate that countries with more media autonomy and journalistic professionalism evince a weaker relation between media trust and political trust. A stronger relation obtains in media environments characterized by party/press parallelism. These findings illustrate how media environments affect citizen perceptions toward the political sphere: the less restricted and more professional the media environment, the more the public perceptions have the opportunity to be affected by what is being reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-367
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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