The effects of news media on political trust have long been an issue of debate in the academic community. The extent to which citizens change their political views based on information from on news outlets has not been clear. This research project set out to find the extent to which both trust and consumption of right-wing media affects political trust across three European democracies: The Netherlands; Spain; and the United Kingdom. These countries were chosen because of the differences they have shown in the news media environments. These differences range from autonomy of news outlets, journalistic professionalism, state intervention, and even circulation of newspapers. This study hypothesized that trust and consumption of right-wing news media would lead to the most political distrust in the United Kingdom, followed by the Netherlands, and lastly Spain. A regression analysis was performed on the two most right-wing news media outlets in each country, with trust in parliament as the dependent variable. The outcome of this regression analysis showed that only trust and consumption of right-wing news in the Netherlands led to political distrust. Both the results from the United Kingdom and Spain pointed towards an increase in political trust with an increase in trust and consumption of right-wing news. This study concluded that this was due to a market dominated news system in the United Kingdom, in which there is no state intervention and news outlets seek to promote viewership through means of sensationalist content. In Spain, it was concluded that there was little media autonomy, leading right-wing news media outlets to support the state heavily and therefore increase political trust.

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Gijs Custers, Thomas Swerts
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Lira, A. (2021, July 5). The Effects of Right-Wing News Media on Political Trust in the European Context. Sociology. Retrieved from