Several scholars investigate the link between news media and political attitudes of citizens, showing that media exposure affects confidence in political institutions. Beginning from this perspective, we analyze trust in government in twenty-seven European countries, testing the interactive relationship between citizens’ policy views and media slant. Under the assumption that news media bias content in the direction of their audiences or are compliant with potential influence exerted by the government, we use Eurobarometer survey data to measure the effects of the ideological slant of newspapers and public television on trust in government. Our results show that the pro- or antigovernment slant of media outlets interacts with the individual ideological views of each citizen and confirm that media act like “echo-chambers” that reinforce preexisting attitudes. Conversely, the consumption of counter-attitudinal information barely alters trust in government nor does it produce hostile media effects. We also find a slight difference between newspaper readers and public service broadcaster (PSB) users, which seems related to mechanisms of cognitive dissonance.
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