News With an Attitude: Assessing the Mechanisms Underlying the Effects of Opinionated News

Mark Boukes, Hajo G. Boomgaarden, Marjolein Moorman, Claes H. De Vreese
  • Mass Communication & Society, May 2014, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/15205436.2014.891136

What is it about?

Opinionated news targets communities of likeminded viewers, relies on dramaturgical storytelling techniques, and shares characteristics with political satire. Accordingly, opinionated news should be understood as a specific form of political entertainment. We have investigated the mechanisms underlying the effects of opinionated news on political attitudes using an experimental design that employed manipulated television news items. Findings confirm that opinionated news positively affects policy attitudes via its presumed influence on others and subsequent perceptions of the opinion climate. However, opinionated news also negatively affects attitudes via hostile media perceptions and evoked anger, especially for people with incongruent political preferences. Due to these opposing processes, we found no total effect of opinionated news on policy attitudes. Conditions are discussed under which either the positive or the negative indirect effect is likely to dominate.

Why is it important?

Provides a theoretical basis for the study of bias in news and the effects it may have.


Dr Mark Boukes
Universiteit van Amsterdam

Incorporating a variety of theoretical frameworks. Good study material.

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