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The Effects of Journalist Opinionation on Learning From the News

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This study considers whether opinionated television news—that is, news in which the anchor expresses a clear point of view—promotes learning relative to traditional, objective news. Results from an online experiment indicate that news opinionation neither increases nor decreases learning. An examination of processing mechanisms helps to explain this null effect: While perceived bias in opinionated news enhances learning, opinionated news also shifts the focus of information processing away from the message and toward the source, thereby distracting from learning. Learning differences as a function of attitudinal congruency with the opinionated news message are explored. Although there are no differences in learning congruent versus incongruent information, this likewise can be explained by patterns in perceived bias and information processing.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Communication, American University, Washington, DC 20016-8017, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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