Selective consumption of news brands in Spain: trust, political leaning, and degree of digital consumption
Within the framework of theories of news trustworthiness and selective exposure to media, this research analyzes whether the trust that consumers of digital news in Spain claim to profess towards a news brand is an explanatory factor that directly mediates their consumption of said brand. In addition, and based on a novel association in literature, this work studies whether the individual attributes of political leaning and degree of digital consumption are predictive variables that have a direct effect on the consumption of news brands. Also, it tests the mediation of trust in this process. This research applies the methodology of simple mediation analysis or analysis of direct or indirect effects to data from the online "Digital news report.es 2019" survey (N = 2005). The 15 news brands studied are TVE, Antena 3, La sexta, Telecinco, Cuatro, Cadena SER, COPE, El pais, El mundo, ABC, La vanguardia, El periodico, 20 minutos, Eldiario.es, and El confidencial. As a main result, two models of selective consumption of news brands in Spain are identified: a first model that only considers the mediating effect of one or both attributes (type I), and a second that combines both direct and indirect effects (type II). This categorization highlights how users' political leaning moderates or enhances the consumption of some news brands by mediating trust. With the exception of COPE, users who are politically positioned to the right have less trust in brands, thereby moderating their consumption. On the other hand, users who are politically on the left are more loyal consumers of the media they trust most (Eldiario.es , La sexta, and Cadena SER).