Empathy and the Hostile Media Phenomenon

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Since partisan individuals from opposing sides of an issue are likely to perceive the exact same news story as being biased against their personal point of view, this study examines whether and how empathy impacts perception of media bias regarding news coverage of undocumented immigrants. Web-based experimental results (N = 585) showed that empathetic news stories have greater potential than non-empathetic stories to induce both sides to perceive news biases in the same direction. Nonetheless, additional analyses found that the drive behind such consistency in news processing may be due to individuals perceiving higher levels of media favorability toward their own side, but not a reduction in media hostility toward the opposing side.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809–829
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number4
Early online date4 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


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