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Hanitzsch, Thomas; Dalen, Arjen van; Steindl, Nina (2018): Caught in the Nexus: A Comparative and Longitudinal Analysis of Public Trust in the Press. In: International Journal of Press-Politics, Vol. 23, No. 1: pp. 3-23


Despite signs of declining press trust in many western countries, we know little about trends in press trust across the world. Based on comparative survey data from the World Values Survey (WVS) and European Values Study (EVS), this study looks into national levels of trust in the press and identifies factors that drive differences across societies and individuals as well as over time. Findings indicate that the widely noted decline in media trust is not a universal trend;it is true for only about half of the studied countries, with the United States experiencing the largest and most dramatic drop in trust in the press. Political trust has emerged as key factor for our understanding of trust in the press. We found robust evidence for what we called the trust nexusthe idea that trust in the news media is strongly linked to the way publics look at political institutions. The link between press trust and political trust was considerably stronger in politically polarized societies. Furthermore, our analysis indicates that the relation between press trust and political trust is becoming stronger over time. We reason that the strong connection between media and political trust may be driven by a growing public sentiment against elite groups.