A catastrophic media failure? Russiagate, Trump and the illusion of truth: The dangers of innuendo and narrative repetition.
Authors: Majin, G.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
The journalistic coverage of Russiagate, between 2017 and March 2019, has been described as ‘a catastrophic media failure’. Drawing on political and social psychology, this article seeks to enrich, and refresh, the familiar journalistic concepts of agendasetting, framing and priming by combining them under the heading of the ‘news narrative’. Using this interdisciplinary approach to media effects theory, Russiagate is considered in terms of the Illusory Truth Effect and the Innuendo Effect. These effects hypothesise that the more audiences are exposed to information, the more likely they are to believe it – even when they are told that the information is unreliable. As a specific example, we focus on the stance taken by BBC News – which has an obligation to journalistic impartiality. We ask what implications arise from this analysis with regard to audience trust.