The world of media has grown immensely, from 24-hour daily news to social media platforms to business and advertising, and it’s taken the American population by storm in a surprisingly short amount of time. Media exposure and usage increases with each passing year as new technologies emerge and are made available to a larger number of the population, including America’s youth. This paper will examine how media exposure, age, and ideology influence public opinion on trust in government, looking at which types of media exposure people receive and how often they are exposed to it. Then, I will see how it relates to their levels of distrust in government, specifically considering fear of corrupt government officials, fear of government activity like drone usage and tracking personal data, the belief that the government is hiding information from the public, attitudes towards the Trump administration, and feelings towards voting by mail and the COVID-19 pandemic. The main data sources that are used are the Chapman University Survey of American Fears (2018, 2020), which is a national, comprehensive survey that outlines how afraid the American population is of certain fears, and the American National Election Studies (2020), which is a national election survey summarizing voting behavior. I expect to find that media exposure will have a large impact on how each party and the younger population view the government. This topic is incredibly important because the American population’s trust in government has crucial implications for our democracy and American society. This paper will discuss three hypotheses; higher media exposure leads to higher levels of distrust in government, America’s youth has a higher level of distrust in government, and political party/ideology has an impact on trust in government.
Bos, Megane, "America's Declining Trust In Government" (2021). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 496.