What Viewers Want: Assessing the Impact of Host Bias on Viewer Engagement with Political Talk Shows

Leticia Bode, Emily K. Vraga, German Alvarez, Courtney N. Johnson, Magda Konieczna, Michael Mirer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

How do different types of host partisanship affect viewers of political talk shows? An experiment replicated on 2 age cohorts examines how different manifestations of partisanship in the cable news environment —explicit partisanship in which the host makes clear his views, and implicit partisanship in which the host gives more time to the guest on 1 side of an argument—affect viewers’ engagement with and credibility assessment of the program. While adults find congruent partisan news hosts more engaging and credible but are unaffected by subtler partisanship, young adults find congruent partisan news hosts more engaging but not more credible, and their perceptions of credibility are affected by subtle partisanship. This may help explain why partisan hosts proliferate but still invite guests from both sides of the aisle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-613
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
Volume62
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2018

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