Alumnus Yariv Tsfati's (Ph.D. 2002) article "Media Skepticism and Climate of Opinion Perception" appears in the current issue of the International Journal of Public Opinion Research (Volume 15, Number 1, Spring 2003).
ABSTRACT: Several theoretical standpoints argue that the news media have a strong influence on audiences' perceptions of the social opinion climate. However, these theories sometimes ignore the active and critical role played by audiences in their interaction with news sources. This paper explores the association between opinion climate perceptions and audience mistrust of the news media. Data collected during the US presidential campaign of 2000 (N = 501) are used to test the hypothesis that media skepticism plays a part in the perception of the climate of opinion. Findings show that when people did not trust the media, they tended to reject the mediated climate of opinion. On the other hand, when people had faith in the media, they tended to consistently converge with the media's election predictions. Implications for media scholars are discussed.