The Trust Factor: Investigating the Triple Role of News Media Trust on Perceived Migrant Threat

David De Coninck, Hajo G. Boomgaarden, Hannah Kronschnabl, Leen d'Haenens


The goal of this study was to compare the role of news media trust as predictor, mediator, and moderator of news media consumption, and to find out how this relates to perceived refugee threat. We shed new light on the different associations between these indicators using online survey data from seven European countries (N = 10,599). Findings indicate that consuming quality newspapers is negatively related to migrant threat perceptions, while consuming commercial television news has a positive relationship. Neither relationships were conditioned by different levels of media trust. Furthermore, trust appeared as a strong moderator for tabloid consumption effects. We also found that consumption of public broadcasting television news had a slightly positive relationship with refugee threat, particularly for those with low trust in public broadcasters. This study provides new insights into the role of trust in media effects and the importance of considering trust as a mediator and moderator in media effects models.


media trust, media use, media effects, perceived migrant threat

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