The fake news crisis of 2016: the influence of political ideologies and news trust on news consumer "innocent sharing"
Lawrie, LaRissa L.
AdvisorDooley, Patricia L.
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While journalists have shared false news for centuries, today’s crisis began in earnest in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. It also has become one of the world’s most polarizing buzzwords (Soll J. 2016, Seidenberg S. 2017). Fake news is a catchword that has become a stand in for fabricated news, viral false information, propaganda, mal-information, dis-information, and mis-information. Fake news comes in many forms, involves all news mediums, and is fueled by a complex mix of conditions and motivations. Many people innocently share fake news, and the conditions and dynamics of such sharing is an understudied topic. This thesis explores through an exploratory survey analyzed using a quantitative method whether an individual’s political ideology and trust/or lack of trust in the news help explain their willingness to share news with others. Initial results suggest moderate associations between strong beliefs (political ideology and trust in the news) and the sharing of fake news headlines.
Thesis (M.A.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Elliot School of Communication