The effect of negative media on policial cynicism of earmarks
Authors:Carissa Collinge, Sofia Farid, Robert Lestak
Mentor:Sean Kelly, Professor of Political Science, California State University Channel Islands
Negative portrayals of Congressional earmarks in the media lead to cynicism in the population and this study aims to determine whether increased exposure to negative media portrayals of government spending correspond with increased cynicism in the population. A positive correlation is expected between the number of negative news stories one views and their political cynicism. Using a survey based experiment we exposed randomly selected participants to varying numbers of media stories about earmarks and then tested their level of cynicism. Our findings suggest that as individuals are exposed to increasing coverage of an issue their level of cynicism increases. Although less politically-engaged people have less access to news stories, the negative stories they do consume increases their political cynicism in regards to congressional earmarks.