Selective Exposure to Balanced Content and Evidence Type: The Case of Issue and Non-Issue Publics about Climate Change and Health Care


We examine three under-studied factors in selective exposure research. Linking issue publics and motivated reasoning literatures, we argue that selectivity patterns depend on (a) whether an individual is an issue public member; (b) the availability of balanced, pro-, and counter-attitudinal content; and (c) the evidence for a message claim (numerical vs. narrative). Using an online experiment (N = 560), we track information selection about climate change and health care. Most notably, on both issues, issue publics selected more balanced content with numerical evidence, compared with non-issue publics. We discuss the implications of our findings for the selective exposure literature.

Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, (94), 3, pp. 833–861,