Fragmented knowledge: exploring the relationship between partisan media exposure and liberal, conservative, and nonpartisan political knowledge

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Alabama Libraries

The study examined the relationship between three types of political knowledge--liberal, conservative, and nonpartisan--and exposure to partisan news media. An online survey measuring U.S. adults' news media use and political knowledge was conducted in April of 2012. The survey also asked about respondents' political participation, ideology, and demographics. The study found a significant positive relationship between exposure to general political news media and all types of knowledge. Further, exposure to partisan news media was positively related to corresponding knowledge type, but no relationship was found for conflicting knowledge types. A regression analysis of all variables of interest found exposure to partisan media to be the strongest predictor of corresponding political knowledge, more so than exposure to general political news, ideology, political participation, or demographic factors. Although much research has been conducted in the area of partisan media exposure, this study was the first to link partisan selective exposure and different types of political knowledge, a relationship only suggested in past studies. The finding that partisan media exposure, not ideology, is directly linked to adults holding differing types of knowledge about the political system holds strong implications for the future of American participatory democracy.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Journalism, Political science