Frank Waddell Pens Article On Reactions to News in Public Places
University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Journalism Assistant Professor Frank Waddell’s article “When MSNBC or Fox News airs in public places, how do people react?” was published in The Conversation on Sept. 11.
The article addresses news consumers’ perception of the influence of news outlets playing in public on other people in the room and how it affects their own behavior.
According to Waddell, based on established science, audiences will often overestimate the influence of media on the other people in the room, while underestimating how broadcasts influence their own views and beliefs. This is known as third-person effect. In addition, if the viewer presumes someone is being influenced by media, they’ll change their own behavior, known as the influence of presumed influence model.
“For example, say a conservative woman who is a regular viewer of Fox News dines at a restaurant that has MSNBC playing,” Waddell writes in explaining third-person effect. “She’s more likely to think that the broadcast wields power over the other customers, without taking into account the effect that her own regular consumption of Fox News has on her own views.”
Fox News viewers’ petitions to remove CNN from airports “are a clear example of the ‘influence of presumed influence model’ in action,” Waddell says. “Because they fear CNN is exerting undue political influence on their fellow travelers, these petitioners – presumably conservative – seek to censor it.”