“Partisan Media Effects in New Democracies”

Friday, October 24, 2014 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Annenberg School, Room 500 (5th Floor)

Dr. Devra Moehler 

buffet lunch @ 11:45 a.m. [first-come, first-served]

Partisan media are often blamed for exacerbating polarization and undermining democratic attitudes. There is a growing literature on partisan media in established democracies, but little research in newly-liberalized systems, even though media in such contexts are heavily partisan and observers warn of tragic consequences. Moehler will argue that the shifting political landscapes and limited democratic experience in post-liberalization settings condition how media affect polarization, engagement and support for democratic norms. She will present the results of a field experiment in which commuter mini-buses in Ghana were randomly assigned to one of four conditions. Passengers heard live talk-radio from a pro-government, pro-opposition, neutral station or were in a no-radio control. Moehler’s research challenges conventional wisdom about partisan media effects in both new and established democracies.