Frames and Reasoning: Two Pathways From Selective Exposure to Affective Polarization

Yariv Tsfati, Lilach Nir


Although an association between congruent exposure to ideological news and affective polarization is well documented, we know little about the mechanisms underlying it. This article explores two possible mechanisms: (1) acceptance of media frames and (2) the effects on the audience’s reasoning, specifically, their knowledge of claims supporting their and the other camp’s positions. Mediation hypotheses were tested on data collected using an online survey of users of ideological and mainstream Israeli news websites (N = 788). Op-eds from these websites (N = 259) were content-analyzed to determine the frames used by ideological and mainstream websites. Results demonstrate that acceptance of frames plays a more important role than audience reasoning in mediating the effect of selective exposure on political polarization.


selective exposure, affective polarization, framing, political reasoning

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