Can Partisan News Be Valuable for Discussion? An Analysis of the Effects of Internal Balance on Online Discussion Intention

Eulalia P. Abril


What can be the effect of the simultaneous increase in online news seeking and exposure and the tendency for online news to be partisan? This study examines the effects of online partisan news on intention to engage in two online discussion dimensions: withdrawal and civil discussion. The novel notion of internal balance is advanced to determine the degree of balance or lack thereof (partisanship) within news stories. The effects are tested in two traditionally different media systems, the United States and Spain, using a controlled experiment. Results demonstrate that partisan news leads to less withdrawal and more civil discussion intention compared to balanced news. Moreover, results are consistent in both countries, thereby suggesting a democratic value for partisan news.


partisan news, internal balance, online political discussion, media systems, cross-national research

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