I have always noticed this “truthiness” behavior in myself and others, but never knew it had a name or scientific basis. A piece of writing accompanied by photos usually seems more credible, so I’m more likely to trust a story that includes media. For this reason, I always try to include at least one photo or video in my articles, where technology allows.
But I think this “fluency” concept could also be a dangerous one for journalists or media outlets who use it irresponsibly. Adding photos and other content to your articles gives them credibility, but what if a writer, intentionally or subconsciously, included a not so relevant photo in order to sway the reader to his or her point of view.
This supports a theory I have that no matter how hard you try, objective journalism is impossible. Any story with media is going to evoke some sort of feeling in the reader, whether you intended it or not.