The effect of consumption of corruption-related news on political cynicism
Keywords: 
Cynicism
political cynicism
corruption
news
media
trust in institutions
education
Issue Date: 
2019
Publisher: 
Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
ISSN: 
2386-7876
Citation: 
Corral-Cumbreras, M. (Marta); Powell, T.E. (Thomas-Edward). "The effect of consumption of corruption-related news on political cynicism". Communication and Society. 32 (4), 2019, 47 - 62
Abstract
Disenchantment with politicians and politics –also called political cynicism– is understood as a phenomenon that deteriorates the functioning of democracy. One of the factors that can impact this disenchantment is the appearance of corruption within the political sphere. Prior research has studied the relationship between corruption and trust in politics; this study aims to investigate the link between corruption-related news and political cynicism in Spain. The study uses an experimental approach to investigate the impact of news reporting corruption on the political cynicism of Spanish citizens and to argue that the consumption of corruption-related news increases cynical attitudes and political cynicism. The present study also investigates whether the involvement of renowned politicians, along with the perceived level of corruption that is reported, has an impact on political cynicism. The results show that political cynicism does not depend solely on consumption of corruptionrelated news; the involvement of renowned politicians in corruption cases and differences in education levels also play a key role in increasing cynicism. Based on the results of the participants assigned to the control group, the study also reveals that Spanish citizens express a baseline level of cynicism that is already very high.

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