The authors hypothesize that in the real world, as opposed to the lab, the norm is for people to experience friendly media that favor their political predispositions when political favoritism is perceived at all. For this reason, media are generally limited in their ability to create cross-cutting exposure. The authors test this hypothesis using representative survey data drawn from 11 different countries with varying media systems. They further hypothesize that television will contribute more to cross-cutting exposure than newspapers. Finally, and most importantly, they test the hypothesis that the more the structure of a country’s media system parallels that of its political parties, the more that country’s population will be dominated by exposure to like-minded views via mass media. The authors find confirmation for all 3 of these hypotheses and discuss the implications for the role of mass media in providing exposure to cross-cutting political perspectives.
Published in Volume 28, Issue 1, pages 42-66