Using Niche News

Natalie Jomini Stroud

in Niche News

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199755509
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897162 | DOI:
Using Niche News

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This chapter examines a wide variety of contexts in order to understand the extent to which our political leanings influence our media exposure decisions. The main question of this chapter is: Are people motivated to use politically likeminded media? It begins by evaluating situations in which partisan selectivity would be most expected and most easily demonstrated. It investigates who watches unmistakably partisan media by looking at the audiences for the national political conventions and the film Fahrenheit 9/11. To evaluate whether partisan selective exposure is more pervasive, it assesses habitual news media exposure and asks: Are our political beliefs related to where we typically turn for news? The chapter then turns to experimental evidence. When given the opportunity to browse political magazines in a waiting room, for example, which magazines do people peruse? What about when they are given a free subscription to a political magazine, what would they choose? The final section probes whether the contemporary media environment changes patterns of selective exposure. In particular, does the explosion of news media outlets exacerbate partisan selective exposure? With data from numerous sources, the findings of the chapter provide extensive evidence that partisan selective exposure is alive and well.

Keywords: political beliefs; media exposure; media choices; partisan selectivity; partisan media

Chapter.  19497 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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