Skip to main content

News from the other side: How topic relevance limits the prevalence of partisan selective exposure

Author(s): Mummolo, Jonathan F.

To refer to this page use:
Abstract: © 2016 by the Southern Political Science Association. All rights reserved. Prior research has demonstrated a preference among partisans for like-minded news outlets, a key mechanism through which the media may be polarizing Americans. But in order for source reputations to cause widespread selective exposure, individuals must prioritize them above other competing attributes of news content. Evaluating the relative in-fluence of various contributors to media choice is therefore critical. This study pits two such factors, source reputation and topic relevance, against one another in conjoint survey experiments offering randomly paired news items to partisans. Making a news source's reputation politically unfriendly lowers the probability that an individual chooses an item, but this negative effect is often eclipsed by the positive effect of making a news topic relevant to the individual. In many popular modern news consumption environments, where consumers encounter a diverse mixture of sources and topics, the ability of source reputations to contribute to polarization via partisan selective exposure is limited.
Publication Date: 6-May-2016
Citation: Mummolo, J. (2016). News from the other side: How topic relevance limits the prevalence of partisan selective exposure. Journal of Politics, 78 (3), 763 - 773. doi:10.1086/685584
DOI: doi:10.1086/685584
ISSN: 0022-3816
EISSN: 1468-2508
Pages: 1 - 11
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Journal of Politics
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

Items in OAR@Princeton are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.