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How Americans absorb news—in this case, news about a war involving Americans—turns out to have a lot to do with what they believe before they hear it. And it matters a lot who is conveying it to them. That is the conclusion that Tim J. Groeling and I drew from a series of news exposure experiments; surveys of journalists, bloggers and citizens; and news content analyses for our book, “War Stories: The Causes and Consequences of Public Views of War.” Our findings show how and why political affiliation shapes perceptions about the success or failure of the war strategy in Iraq. What we found was that Democrats and independents perceived that U.S. prospects for victory in Iraq had declined from the prior year and that there had been no change in U.S. casualty rates, despite six months of declining casualties. Republicans were far more optimistic. Reasons for this disconnection reside at the intersection of politics and journalism and relate directly to people’s level of trust and their perceptions.


Baum, Matthew A. "Trust and Perception: Powerful Factors in Assessing News About War." Nieman Reports. Fall 2010, 71-72.