Widening or Reducing the Knowledge Gap? Testing the Media Effects on Political Knowledge in Spain (2004-2006)
Title: Widening or Reducing the Knowledge Gap? Testing the Media Effects on Political Knowledge in Spain (2004-2006)
Author: FRAILE, Marta
Citation: International Journal of Press/Politics, 2011, 16, 163-184
This article analyzes the media effects on political knowledge after controlling for the most common factors (motivation, ability, and opportunities) in Spain. In addition, it explores whether the media contribute to increasing the existent knowledge gap in the Spanish polity. The results show that only one medium appears to have significant effects on knowledge: newspapers. An additional finding is that exposure to political information in newspapers does not reinforce the knowledge gap between different socioeconomic groups. Moreover, the relationship between education and knowledge appears to be weaker among heavy newspaper users than among light newspaper users. Interestingly, this result runs contrary to that predicted by the knowledge gap hypothesis and suggests that political institutions should promote increased access to the press for poorly educated citizens, particularly in countries where there is an extremely polarized media system, with a clear political alignment of the main media holdings, such as the case of Spain.
Subject: media; political knowledge; political information
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