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Political Science Commons

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2019

American Politics

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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

How News Media Coverage Of Crises Promotes Conspiracy Beliefs, Richard Kornrumpf, Adam Enders Phd Oct 2019

How News Media Coverage Of Crises Promotes Conspiracy Beliefs, Richard Kornrumpf, Adam Enders Phd

Posters-at-the-Capitol

While scholars of conspiracy theories have recently made great strides in understanding the basic nature and correlates of conspiratorial thinking, we still know little about how conspiracy beliefs are disseminated and communicated, especially when it comes to traditional media. In this instance, we use a unique experiment to investigate whether media coverage of mass shootings – complete with the uncertainty, conflicting reports, and dubious official narratives that characterize such coverage – provides the raw material for conspiracy theories and promotes conspiracy beliefs among viewers. We find that implicit conspiratorial information – that which causes confusion and foments uncertainty – does not enflame conspiracy beliefs ...