Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations

Title

The effect of partisan media and news slant on Americans' perception of China and Chinese products: an experimental study in an online news environment

Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Media and Communication

First Advisor

Gi Woong Yun (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Louisa Ha (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Sung-Yeon Park (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Neil Englehart (Other)

Abstract

Research in country image has received both kudos and questioning in the field of international marketing. China’s country image is one of the most intriguing and controversial topics. Based on the three components (i.e., cognitive, affective, and conative) of country image, this study analyzed China’s image in terms of country beliefs, people affect, desired interaction as well as product beliefs and purchase intention.

By integrating priming with the Heuristic-Systematic Model, this research used a 2×2 pretest-posttest experimental factorial design to measure changes in Americans’ perception of China’s image after their exposure to the news stimuli about China from a partisan news website. Two manipulated factors were media partisanship (congruent or incongruent partisan media) and news slant (positive or negative coverage of China). The results did not demonstrate any priming effect of news coverage. However, media partisanship had a significant influence on country beliefs and purchase intention related to China. Significant interaction effects between news slant and media partisanship on country beliefs and desired interaction were also found. In addition, people perceived a congruent partisan media source as more credible than an incongruent source, but are more willing to like and share a positive news article about China than a negative one on social media.

The results advocated a multidimensional approach to country image research and a refined view of news priming effects by taking the heuristic of media source into account. Implications on news media and international marketing were also discussed.

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