Perceptions of mis- or disinformation exposure predict political cynicism: Evidence from a two-wave survey during the 2018 US midterm elections

S. Mo Jones-Jang, Dam Hee Kim, Kate Kenski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite a fast-growing body of literature on fake news and mis-/disinformation, there remains surprisingly little empirical work on the social/political consequences of exposure to false information. Addressing this issue, this study provides initial evidence that perceptions of false information exposure catalyze political cynicism. The findings from a two-wave panel survey during the 2018 US midterm elections reveal that perceptions of false information exposure 2 weeks before the election significantly predict the changes in political cynicism immediately after the election day. We also find that social media news use in Wave 1 significantly relates to political cynicism in Wave 2 indirectly through perceptions of mis-/disinformation exposure. The autoregressive regression model indicates that our findings are robust after controlling for prior levels of cynicism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNew Media and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Cynicism
  • disinformation
  • fake news
  • midterm elections
  • misinformation
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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