• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Article

Checking facts and fighting back: Why journalists should defend their profession

Plos One. 2018. Vol. 13. No. 12. P. e020860.
Pingree R. J., Watson B., Sui M., Searles K., Kalmoe N. P., Darr J. P., Santia M., Bryanov K.

Bias accusations have eroded trust in journalism to impartially check facts. Traditionally journalists have avoided responding to such accusations, resulting in an imbalanced flow of arguments about the news media. This study tests what would happen if journalists spoke up more in defense of their profession, while simultaneously also testing effects of doing more fact checking. A five-day field experiment manipulated whether an online news portal included fact check stories and opinion pieces defending journalism. Fact checking was beneficial in terms of three democratically desirable outcomes–media trust, epistemic political efficacy, and future news use intent–only when defense of journalism stories were also present. No partisan differences were found in effects: Republicans, Democrats, and Independents were all affected alike. These results have important implications for journalistic practice as well as for theories and methods of news effects.