Why You’re Just As Fake As Fake News. (Hostile Media Effect)

Why You’re Just As Fake As Fake News. (Hostile Media Effect)


Welcome back Tweedsters, I’m gonna do a
little experiment with you now, take a moment to read the headlines on the screen from The
New York Times, a left leaning paper. How do you feel about these headlines? Does
it matter to you to learn that they actually came from Fox News, a right leaning paper?
This fake home page was created by Dan Schultz a few years back. Knowing what you know now, do these headlines
seem different to you? If so, you’ve just proved that we detect and judge bias based
on things other than what journalists actually write. This is known as the hostile media effect
and is the process by which individuals perceive what they want to in media messages while
ignoring opposing viewpoints. It is a broad term to identify the behavior all people exhibit
when they tend to “see things” based on their particular frame of reference. It also describes
how we categorize and interpret sensory information in a way that favors one category or interpretation
over another. In other words, its a form of bias because we interpret information in a
way that is congruent with our existing values and beliefs. In one classic study, viewers watched a filmstrip
of a particularly violent Princeton-Dartmouth American football game. Princeton viewers
reported seeing nearly twice as many rule infractions committed by the Dartmouth team
than did Dartmouth viewers. One Dartmouth graduate did not see any infractions committed
by the Dartmouth side and erroneously assumed he had been sent only part of the film, sending
word requesting the rest. In 1982, the second major study of this phenomenon
was undertaken; pro-Palestinian students and pro-Israeli students at Stanford University
were shown the same news filmstrips pertaining to the then-recent Sabra and Shatila massacre
of Palestinian refugees by Christian Lebanese militia fighters abetted by the Israeli army
in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War. On a number of objective measures, both sides
found that these identical news clips were slanted in favor of the other side. Pro-Israeli
students reported seeing more anti-Israel references and fewer favorable references
to Israel in the news report and pro-Palestinian students reported seeing more anti-Palestinian
references, and so on. Both sides said a neutral observer would have a more negative view of
their side from viewing the clips, and that the media would have excused the other side
where it blamed their side. At the University of Michigan, William Youmans
and Katie Brown showed the same Al Jazeera English news clip to American audiences, but
with a catch: Half saw the news with its original Al Jazeera logo intact, and half saw the same
video with a CNN logo instead. Viewers who saw the story with the original Al Jazeera
logo rated Al Jazeera as more biased than before they had seen the clip. But people
who watched the same footage with the fake CNN logo on it rated CNN as less biased than
before! In other words, the intention of the reporter
or the story is irrelevant — those “partisans” who consume the content find the content that
is hostile to their point of view on their own. Therefore characteristics of the message source
can also influence the hostile media effect. A source perceived to be friendly to the partisan
(for example, CNN if you’re American) is less likely to invoke the hostile media effect
than a source that is disagreeable or geographically detached, for example Al Jazeera in the case
of an American. Communications researcher Scott Reid has proposed
that we can explain the hostile media effect through the psychological theory of self-categorization.
This is a theory about personal identity and group identity, and it says that we “self-stereotype,”
placing conceptual labels on ourselves just as we might make assumptions about other people.
We all have multiple identities of this kind: gender, age, political preferences, race,
nationality, subculture, and so on. To test this, he performed a series of published
experiments with American students and it turned out to be correct.
Social identity theory suggests that media coverage of an ego-involving issue will activate
group identity and increase the salience of the issue among members of a group that champions
a political or social cause. This in turn triggers self-categorization processes, as
ingroup members differentiate themselves from their counterparts in the outgroup, seeking
to elevate their self-esteem by viewing the ingroup as superior to the disliked outgroup
on core dimensions. When exposed to controversial media coverage that contains unfavorable depictions
of the ingroup, group members, concerned about the perceived inaccuracy of the portrayals
and convinced that the portrayals undermine the group’s legitimacy in the larger society,
cope by derogating media coverage, viewing it as hostilely biased. In this way, they
reduce the symbolic threat and restore valued social self-esteem. A related potential moderator is the outgroup
membership of the message source. Reid found that more politically extreme Democratic students
perceived less bias when an assault on their group was attributed to a Democratic (ingroup)
organization, but detected more bias when the attack was ascribed to a pro-Republican
outgroup. Researchers at the University of Utah and
Konkuk University found that news stories are perceived as biased based on who shares
that story on social media, regardless if the actual story is biased. Researchers pursued two questions in the study.
First, does an ostensibly neutral story shared via a partisan social media user produce hostile
media effects? Second, do overt signals about the potential size of the audience affect
the hostile media effect? To answer these questions, an online experiment
was conducted where Republicans and Democrats viewed a Twitter account, in which the user
was presented as a Republican or Democrat with either 21 or 503,000 followers. Then,
the research subjects read a news article shared by the Twitter user, which was published
by a neutral news source, The Associated Press. Consistent with the hostile media effect,
both Republicans and Democrats believed that a news article shared by a Twitter user from
an opposing political party was more biased than one shared by a Twitter user from the
same political party. However, this effect was more prominent among Republicans than
Democrats. As the Twitter account had more followers, this effect was also more prominent
among Republicans. “The different pattern between Republicans
and Democrats might be due to their different interpretation of the large number of Twitter
followers. That is, Democrats seem to believe that the Twitter account with many followers
is a more credible source. Republicans seem to believe that more followers mean more bias,”
Researchers concluded that the hostile media effect, which has been widely studied in traditional
media, can be shown in a social media, and those who share the news article can influence
the hostile media effect among partisans. This makes the concept of regulating so called
fake news a little bit tricky. News is fake depending on who reads,watches or shares it
too. What the journalist actually writes is only one dimension of fake news. As said in
my other videos, only you can say what is fake, don’t rely on the government or any
authority, for example schools, universites, to do that for you. People and ideas are diverse,
so too then should be the news which people are exposed to. Be aware of your bias and
hopefully the effect is reduced.

Author:

4 thoughts on “Why You’re Just As Fake As Fake News. (Hostile Media Effect)”

  • Mr Tweedy Documentaries says:

    We often hear that the BBC, for example, is left or right wing. Can the BBC be a up holder of state power and it is neither left or right? You're the one who is left or right wing.

  • If anyone has ever been on a political internet forum, you see this behaviour in practice all the time. People jump quite quickly to see themselves as victims.

  • Drew West Press says:

    Very hostile title, you might scare viewers away.

    That being said, I like you already. Very good information.

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