The current debate about declining media trust is related not only to the disruptive changes in the media but also to the general decline of trust in institutions and politicians. This article combines the perspectives of media trust and political trust, by examining to what degree voters perceive politicians as “honest” in the contexts of various media and communication forms. Comparing the voters’ evaluation of politicians’ trustworthiness in talk shows, news interviews, speeches, flyers, social media, and opinion pieces makes it possible to measure the impact of media contexts on the level of trust. A key finding is that voters deem politicians as more honest in social media and opinion pieces, compared to talk shows and news interviews. Second, voters tend to evaluate politicians as more honest in the media formats they most often consume; a finding that confirms the virtuous circle theory; young people typically found politicians to be more dishonest in mainstream media compared to social media A third finding is that the voters tend to evaluate populist politicians as more authentic than traditional politicians and that female politicians were regarded as more authentic compared to male politicians. These findings have implications both for journalistic ideals for coverage of politics in and for political strategic communication.
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