The perceived credibility of a news outlet can affect how headlines about gun violence are received

According to researchers from New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers.

the studypublished in the journal Health Communicationsheds light on how the media can shape American attitudes toward gun violence and suggests that spreading gun safety-related messages from media outlets monitored by gun owners might be the best approach .

“These findings show that American attitudes toward gun violence can be strongly influenced by who presents the topic, regardless of what those news sources actually say,” said Shelby Bandel, lead author of the report. study and doctoral student in New Jersey. Armed Violence Research Center.

Research reported that Republicans trust far fewer news networks than Democrats and that sources of trust are essentially reversed between the two political groups.

New research from Rutgers found a similar finding after presenting 3,500 American adults, including gun owners, with two fictional headlines: “Gun Violence is the Result of Mental Health Issues” and “Storage of guns in a safe can help prevent suicides”. Half of the attendees learned that the first headline came from Fox News and the second from MSNBC. The other half learned that the first headline came from MSNBC and the second from Fox News. The researchers then looked at what predicted how accurately participants perceived each headline.

Among all study participants, the importance of an accurate headline was secondary to their belief in the credibility of the news source. These findings underscore the importance of credible media representation of accurate gun violence prevention information, as readers rely on the content of the full story for information.

“As with many other public health issues, the media likely plays a huge role in building and maintaining inaccurate beliefs about why gun violence happens and what we can do about it. When trusted media voices feed us misinformation, our ability to address gun violence in a unified and effective manner suffers,” said Michael Anestis, co-author and executive director of the Gun Violence Research Center and associate professor in the Urban-Global Public Department. Rutgers School of Public Health.

The researchers also looked at what factors predicted how credible participants viewed Fox News and MSNBC. In the full sample, the more credible a person viewed Fox News, the more likely they were to report owning firearms, and the less likely they were to identify as Asian rather than white. The more credible a person viewed MSNBC, the younger and more educated they tended to be, and the more likely they were to report living in an urban area rather than a rural one.

“This shows how important it is to work with a wide range of media to convey accurate information about gun violence and other public health issues. Different groups view different media sources as more or less credible, and it It’s critical that their preferred source present them with accurate information,” Bandel said.

“As with many other public health issues, the media likely plays a huge role in building and maintaining inaccurate beliefs about why gun violence happens and what we can do about it. warn her,” she continued. “When trusted media voices feed us misinformation, our ability to address gun violence in a unified and effective manner suffers.”