The Effects of Television News Propaganda: Experimental Evidence from China
54 Pages Posted: 13 May 2020
Date Written: April 17, 2020
More than half of the world's population live under authoritarian rule, where propaganda is deployed to manipulate attitudes and behaviors at scale. Television remains one of the most powerful forms of propaganda because audiences continue to regard television as an authoritative source of information. We create videos that realistically resemble Chinese state news propaganda and experimentally assess their effects on the policy preferences of the Chinese public. We find that propaganda moves respondents to adopt policy positions espoused in the video up to 48 hours after exposure and appears to work through persuasion. In contrast to prior research, effects do not vary based on individual predispositions or characteristics, which may be due to the content and format of propaganda.
Keywords: Propaganda, Media, Policy, China, Experiment
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