Online news outlets and social media platforms are key sources of news consumption today, yet how consumers evaluate the trustworthiness of this content remains underexplored. Gallup, in partnership with the Knight Foundation, built an online platform to assess trust in the media.
The first cycle of experiments conducted on the platform show a statistically significant decline in overall trustworthiness in conditions that reveal the news source. This finding has interesting implications for news aggregators that compile news stories from a variety of sources. In contrast, the presence or absence of images selected by news outlets does not appear to have an overall effect on how users perceive the trustworthiness of the written news content.
Gallup also confirmed that perceived trustworthiness of news content depends on how one views the news source. Particularly striking was the magnitude of devaluation in perceived trustworthiness Democrats exhibited when rating Fox News and Breitbart News articles when source was shown. The small partisan differences in perceived trustworthiness of FoxNews content when source is hidden similarly constitutes a novel finding.