Ability to spot and resist manipulated media news about international affairs: Does political knowledge provide it?
Vasyl V. Kucherenko (European University Institute in Florence, Italy),
Cindy T. Christen (Colorado State University, USA)
ABSTRACT: This experiment explored relationships between individuals? levels of political knowledge and ability to spot manipulated media information about international affairs as well as susceptibility to influence by such information. The context of the study was the 'Orange Revolution' in Ukraine. A convenience sample of 146 students at a large American university was randomly assigned to read one of three simulated New York Times news reports, experimentally manipulated to favor either the Ukrainian government, the opposition, or a balance of political views. Analysis revealed few significant relationships between level of political knowledge and spotting manipulation in news reports. Instead, trust in the New York Times explained a majority of the variance. Also, political knowledge wasn't associated with susceptibility to manipulation. Interestingly, a majority of participants who spotted manipulation nevertheless accepted standpoints the manipulated articles promoted.