Defining hostile media effect • People’s tendency to perceive neutral news coverage as one-sided and unfair in favor of their opposing side (HME).
Defining Hostile Media Effect • When we talk about people then we usually refer to partisans that believe in a particular idea or cause
Defining Hostile Media Effect • Assimilation bias • the tendency to find information supportive rather than opposed to ones owns on position but also to dismiss unfavorable content as unreliable
Defining Hostile Media Effect • Third-Person-Effect (TPE) • A person exposed to a media message (possibly persuasive in nature) would see a greater effect on others than on himself or herself.
The people initiating the research • Vallone, Ross & Lepper - HME • Lord, Ross, and Lepper– Assimilation Bias • Davison – Third Person Effect
Why is it important? • The perception of media bias affects two fundamental features that characterize the relationship between the public and the media: the public’s trust and the media’s influence.
Why is it important? • People who are susceptible to HME view media content as unfair and inaccurate. This undermines trust in the media. • which in turn could correlate with a decrease in the media’s influence.
The Hostile Media Phenomenon: Biased Perception and Perceptions of Media Bias in Coverage of the Beirut Massacre.Vallone, Ross & Lepper (1985) • Stimulus materials: videotaped segments devoted to the Beirut Massacre in 1982. (Palestinian and Lebanese vs. Israeli) • Procedure: participants completed a questionnaire designed to elicit their perceptions of the fairness and objectivity of the news programs.
Findings • Each side of the participants saw the news segments as biased in favor of the other side. More specifically, pro-Israeli subjects saw the news programs as “applying higher standards to Israel” as compared to pro-Arab ones who believed that the media were “applying lower standards to Israel.”
Findings • Two underlying mechanism: • Differing evaluation: partisans see the claims associated with their viewpoints as more credible and accurate than the opposing viewpoints. The opposing view is seen as “inferior.” • Differing recollection: They perceived a different stimulus with different content and emphasis.
Findings • Partisans on both sides believed that this overall sample of news coverage would lead undecided or ambivalent viewers to become more hostile to the side that the partisans personally favored • Subjects with more knowledge/emotional involvement are more inclined to view the media as bias against them.
Christen, C., P. Kannaovakun, et al. (2002). "Hostile Media Perceptions: Partisan Assessments of Press and Public During the 1997 United Parcel Service Strike." • Persuasive press inference (remember TPE): people may infer public opinion from their perceptions of the slant of media coverage and their assumptions that such coverage has a substantial impact on others. • False consensus/Projection: others. The tendency of individuals to see their own opinions and behaviors as relatively common while viewing alternative opinions and behaviors as uncommon.
Why does the Hostile Media Effect exist? • Research has not found a definitive answer yet • One explanation is • perceived reach of information • Mainstream media vs. smaller outlets
Media bias • Is the tendency of journalists to select a certain type of events and stories to report on and then to cover/ frame them in a certain way.
impact • Selectivity leads to • Inability to report “all the important and relevant facts of the story • Loss of media neutrality
What • Themes: • Support or attack of a certain political figure • Favoring advertisers • Favoring corporations (NBC and GE) • Sensationalism • Gender + sexual orientation • Religion • Age etc
Why • Good question! • Sometimes the coverage and selection reflects journalists attitudes and believes • The newsroom setting or media outlet can set the tone (MSNBC & Fox News)
How • Horse race journalism • Talking heads • Experts over layman • Press conferences • Over extended coverage
Other topics • Covering natural disasters • Accidents, death • Animals • Babies • Sex