To what extent do partisan media polarize political attitudes? Although recent methodological advancements have improved scholars’ ability to identify the persuasive e?ects of exposure to partisan media, past studies typically rely on self-reported media preferences, which may not re?ect actual news consumption behavior. Using individual-level web-tracking data, we construct two measures of revealed media preferences based on the volume and slant of news that individuals consume. Overall, we observe substantial overlap in the media diets of individuals across stated preference groups, suggesting that self-reported measures of media preferences may overstate the degree of selective exposure to online news. Moreover, our measures of revealed and stated preferences generate di?ering conclusions regarding heterogeneity in partisan media’s persuasive impact. Whereas measures of stated preferences raise the possibility of persuasion by counter-attitudinal sources, measures of revealed preferences instead indicate that individuals with ideologically extreme media diets are primarily in?uenced by proattitudinal outlets.
Wittenberg, Chloe, Matthew A. Baum, Adam J. Berinsky, Justin de Benedictis-Kessner, and Teppei Yamamoto. "Media Measurement Matters: Estimating the Persuasive Effects of Partisan Media with Survey and Behavioral Data." September 26, 2022.