Cable News Use and Conspiracy Theories: Exploring Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC Effects on People’s Conspiracy Mentality

Homero Gil de Zúñiga, Rebecca Scheffauer, Bingbing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Research on the origin, dissemination, and support of conspiracy theories has skyrocketed. Studies reveal how individual antecedents such as people’s personality traits, intrinsic motivations, and broad social-psychological processes explain this phenomenon. Fewer studies, however, explored the role of cable news exposure. This study casts a new light on how exposure to Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC relate to people’s levels of general conspiracy mentality fueled by the belief in “secret-plotting orchestrated by powerful others.” Results from K-mean cluster algorithms, ordinary least squares (OLS) causal-autoregressive regressions, and cross-lagged panel structural equation model tests show Fox News exposure fosters people’s conspiracy mentality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournalism and Mass Communication Quarterly
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

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