Disinformation Perceptions and Media Trust: The Moderating Roles of Political Trust and Values

Francis L. F. Lee


Many observers have been concerned with the possible negative consequences of the proliferation of fake news and disinformation, including a decline in media trust. This study attempts to document the negative relationship between media trust and perceived severity of disinformation, measured in terms of perceived seriousness of the disinformation problem and perceived influence of disinformation on society. Moreover, this study argues that political trust and political values would orient people’s responses to the phenomenon of disinformation. Hence, they would moderate the relationship between perceived severity of disinformation and media trust. Analysis of a survey in Hong Kong (N = 1,014) shows that perceived severity of the disinformation problem relates negatively to general media trust. The negative relationship is particularly strong among people who trust governmental institutions more, believe in law and order more, and emphasize civil liberties less. General implications of the findings are discussed.


disinformation, perceptions, media trust, political trust, political values, Hong Kong

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