Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

March 2001

Publication Source

American Political Science Review





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We use national survey data to examine the extent to which various sources of political information expose people to dissimilar political views. We hypothesize that the individual's ability and desire to exercise selective exposure is a key factor in determining whether a given source produces exposure to dissimilar views. Although a lack of diverse perspectives is a common complaint against American news media, we find that individuals are exposed to far more dissimilar political views via news media than through interpersonal political discussants. The media advantage is rooted in the relative difficulty of selectively exposing oneself to those sources of information, as well as the lesser desire to do so, given the impersonal nature of mass media.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Copyright © 2001 by the American Political Science Association. Online at Cambridge Journals Online.


NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Diana C. Mutz was affiliated with Ohio State University. Currently, she is a faculty member of the Annenberg School for Communication.



Date Posted: 10 June 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.