Bernhard Clemm von Hohenberg, Truth and Bias, Left and Right: Testing Ideological Asymmetries with a Realistic News Supply, Public Opinion Quarterly, 2023
The debate around “fake news” has raised the question of whether liberals and conservatives differ, first, in their ability to discern true from false information, and second, in their tendency to give more credit to information that is ideologically congruent. Typical designs to measure these asymmetries select, often arbitrarily, a small set of news items as experimental stimuli without clear reference to a “population of information.”
This pre-registered study takes an alternative approach by, first, conceptualizing estimands in relation to all political news. Second, to represent this target population, it uses a set of 80 randomly sampled items from a large collection of articles from Google News and three fact-checking sites. In a subsequent survey, a quota sample of US participants (n = 1,393) indicate whether they believe the news items to be true. Conservatives are less truth-discerning than liberals, but also less affected by the congruence of news.