- Substance matters: how news content can reduce political cynicism
- International Journal of Public Opinion Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 22 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This article compares the impact of strategic and substantive news on political cynicism among younger people (18- to 34-year-olds) as compared to non-young citizens. While studies on the unfavorable impact of strategic news have yielded mixed results, the possible favorable impact of substantive news has not been studied extensively. This article draws on a national voter-panel survey (N = 703) conducted before the 2006 Dutch elections, together with content analysis of television and newspaper items during the campaign period. Contrary to what we expected, we did not find any effect of strategic news on political cynicism. Also, we did not find any effect of exposure to substantive news on political cynicism among non-young citizens. Among younger voters, however, we found a clear negative effect of substantive news on political cynicism. This suggests that young adults can experience a process of secondary socialization, in which exposure to substantive news may reverse the "spiral of cynicism."
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