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Media Effects on Perceptions of the U.S. National Debt Open Access

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The U.S. national debt, which reached over 19 trillion dollars by 2016, has been a frequent topic of conversation for politicians, the media, and the American public in recent years. In news coverage of the issue, journalists often direct attention to the money owed to China rather than the debt held by the U.S. federal government accounts or other foreign countries. This research seeks to understand how references to China in news coverage of the U.S. national debt affect viewers’ perceptions of the seriousness of that debt, as well as the sense of urgency to pay it back.

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