Examining Avoidance of Ongoing Political Issues in the News: A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Audience Issue Fatigue
This study examines relations between news users’ fatigue from ongoing political news issues and different forms of avoiding these issues. When it comes to political issues, avoidance would be detrimental to an informed citizenry and problematic against the backdrop of citizens increasingly tuning out news media in general, as observed in recent years. The results from fixed effects regressions based on a three-wave panel survey show that increasing issue fatigue leads to increasing avoidance of the issue when selecting news media content and during exposure to news media content on the issue, although it does not affect avoidance of interpersonal discussions on the issue. Issue fatigue is a stronger predictor of avoidance during media use than other issue predispositions, such as issue importance and attitude. Thus, it emerges as a new explanatory approach to avoidance of media content on an issue level.