Watching the News and Support for Democracy: Why Media Systems Matter Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017 by the Southwestern Social Science Association Objective: We explore whether the effect of watching television on support for democracy is contingent on the type of media system. In countries with well-developed public broadcasting systems, watching television news should enhance support for democracy. In more market-oriented systems with more superficial and episodic news content, watching television news should weaken democratic attachments. Methods: We utilize Wave 6 of the World Values Survey to investigate the relationship between watching television news and support for democracy in the United States, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Results: Watching television news in public broadcasting systems increases the importance one places on living in a democracy and evaluations of democratic governance. Watching television news in market-oriented systems increases support for authoritarian political systems. Conclusion: The effect of watching television news on democratic attitudes is contingent on media system. Public broadcasting systems enhance democratic attitudes while market-oriented systems weaken these democratic attachments.

altmetric score

  • 6.55

author list (cited authors)

  • Goidel, K., Gaddie, K., & Ehrl, M.

citation count

  • 5

publication date

  • September 2017