Date of this Version
American Political Science Review
Does incivility in political discourse have adverse effects on public regard for politics? If so, why? In this study we present a theory suggesting that when viewers are exposed to televised political disagreement, it often violates well-established face-to-face social norms for the polite expression of opposing views. As a result, incivility in public discourse adversely affects trust in government. Drawing on three laboratory experiments, we find that televised presentations of political differences of opinion do not, in and of themselves, harm attitudes toward politics and politicians. However, political trust is adversely affected by levels of incivility in these exchanges. Our findings suggest that the format of much political television effectively promotes viewer interest, but at the expense of political trust.
Copyright © 2005 by the American Political Science Association. Online at Cambridge Journals Online.
Mutz, D. C., & Reeves, B. (2005). The New Videomalaise: Effects of Televised Incivility on Political Trust. American Political Science Review, 99 (1), 1-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0003055405051452
Date Posted: 10 June 2008
This document has been peer reviewed.