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Online Information Review ; 46(7):1335-1352, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2051904


Purpose>This study examined the association between media consumers' attitudes toward COVID-19-related content on mainstream, on-demand and social media and trust in the government's ability to handle the pandemic crisis.Design/methodology/approach>The study is based on an online survey of a representative sample of 1,005 Israelis aged 18 and over and focused on consumers' perceptions of media contents as a source of information, social solidarity, criticism and anxiety.Findings>Findings indicate that mainstream media were the primary source of pandemic information. A positive association was found between perceptions of mainstream media as a source of criticism and trust in government's actions. This association was negative regarding social and on-demand media. The more mainstream media contents were perceived as anxiety evoking, the lower participants' trust in government's actions. A positive association was found between perceptions that social media encouraged social solidarity and trust in governmental action.Practical implications>Policymakers should take into consideration that various media operate synergistically to continually construct reality.Originality/value>This study focuses on consumers' perceptions of COVID-related media contents, which are especially important in the current era of media outlet proliferation, distribution and impact on the government. The unique contribution is in the integrated application of media malaise theory, virtuous circle theory and echo chamber theory to explain the correlation between media consumption and public trust during a global crisis in the era of diverse media outlets.Peer review>The peer review history for this article is available at: