Politician Seeking Voter: How Interviews on Entertainment Talk Shows Affect Trust in Politicians
During election campaigns, politicians regularly feature on entertainment talk shows in which they are typically approached in uncritical and positive manners. To test how such appearances affect trust in politicians, we conducted an online experiment with a Dutch adult sample in which participants were randomly allocated to see an entertainment talk show interview, a current affairs program interview with the same politician, or a control condition without exposure. Findings demonstrate that exposure to the talk show interview affected participants’ trust in politicians. Moreover, this effect was strongly moderated by political knowledge. Trust in politicians was positively affected by talk show exposure among individuals with low political knowledge, but negatively for those with the most political knowledge.