Extended Exposure to Diverse News: Evidence from a Campus Project
21 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2017 Last revised: 13 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 12, 2017
We report results from a campus project in which participants volunteered to increase their exposure to news from diverse viewpoints for an extended period of time. Specifically, participants read email newsletters from the three leading US cable news stations, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, every weekday from April 1-25, 2017. Survey responses indicate that the experience led to increased interest in more diverse news when the project was completed, and an increase in actual consumption of more diverse news several months later, for a majority of the 53 participants who completed the project. The results also indicate that the experience mitigated liberal participants' hostility toward Fox News and President Trump. There was very little evidence of any backfire effects (exacerbation of hostility or disinterest in diverse news). We discuss why the seemingly non-ideal conditions of our experiment (a self-selected subject pool with weak incentives for compliance) likely actually increase the external validity and relevance of our results.
Keywords: Selective Exposure, Filter Bubbles, Echo Chambers, Polarization, Affective Polarization, Media Bias
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