- Partisan news and political participation: exploring mediated relationships
- Political Communication
- Volume | Issue number
- 33 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
This study examines mediators of the relationship between news consumption and political participation in the contemporary news environment. We test the differential effects exerted by pro- and counter-attitudinal news compared with balanced news on intended participation. Our primary objective is to model three paths that may link news exposure and participation: cognitive (i.e., perceived issue understanding), affective (i.e., emotions evoked by a news story), and attitudinal (i.e., attitude strength). We compare these paths across four issues, testing which is strongest. Relying on a large survey-based experiment on a representative sample of the American population (N = 2,300), we find that pro-attitudinal exposure increases intended participation relative to balanced news exposure, while the effects of counter-attitudinal news do not differ from those exerted by balanced news. Issue understanding, anger, positive emotions, and attitude strength all mediate the relationship between pro-attitudinal exposure and intended participation, with the route via attitude strength being strongest. These effects do not depend on whether exposure is self-selected or experimentally assigned.
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