Traditional Versus Internet Media in a Restricted Information Environment: How Trust in the Medium Matters

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We use original survey data from Malaysia to explore differences in how traditional and digital media shape the attitudes and behavior of citizens. In closed, and even semi-authoritarian, states such as Malaysia, the Internet, including social media, is often the only place for opposition-centered media to thrive. As a result, consumption of Internet media is related to dissident attitudes. We argue that this relationship, though, is mitigated by trust in the medium. Our results suggest: (1) trust in traditional and Internet media determines the frequency with which citizens use each corresponding medium to gather political information, (2) higher trust in traditional media is positively associated with attitudes about democratic conditions in Malaysia; the opposite is true for trust in Internet media, (3) trust in the traditional media is negatively related, and trust in Internet media is positively related to the inclination to protest, (4) the positive relationship between digital media consumption and this attitude is stronger for those who trust Internet media, and diminished among those who trust traditional media.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gainous, J; Abbott, JP; Wagner, KM

Published Date

  • June 15, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 41 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 401 - 422

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-6687

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0190-9320

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s11109-018-9456-6

Citation Source

  • Scopus