Corruption in the Limelight: The Relative Influence of Traditional Mainstream and Social Media on Political Trust in Nigeria
Corruption erodes trust in government. While research has established the link between the two, we know much less about how different media types affect people’s perceptions of corruption, which in turn influence their degrees of political trust. Hence, we conducted a survey during the 2019 general election in Nigeria (a country ranked 146 in the Corruption Perceptions Index) to test the relationships among media, corruption, and political trust. We recruited 688 respondents by using a multistage cluster sampling and analyzed the survey data using Partial Least Squares—Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM). Our findings suggest that social media have greater influence than traditional mainstream media on perceptions of corruption and that negative perceptions of corruption determine low political trust. We also found that traditional media play a significant role in fostering political trust during an election but that social media do not. We use several theoretical insights from agenda-setting and agenda-melding theories to explain our results.