Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Gerald M. Kosicki
Questions of credibility of the news media have been a perennially favorite topic for inquiry. Credibility emerged as an important conditional variable in the emerging psychological science of persuasion after World War II. For many decades, journalism researchers have examined various dimensions of credibility of news reports. The Gallup survey, for example, has for many years asked a question about how much “trust and confidence” people have in the mass media—defined as newspapers, television, and radio—“when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately and fairly” (Gillespie 2004). The proportion of the public having a “great deal” or “fair amount” of confidence in the mass media was 44 percent in 2004, down sharply from the 54 percent measured the previous year, and quite a bit lower than the 68 percent in 1972 when the series began. It is likely that the 2004 dip resulted from negative public reaction to several ...