Scholars have for some time shed light on the effects incidental news exposure have for the democratic process. However, limited work has explored how the ease and openness of discussion online interplay with unintentional encounters with news in explaining citizens’ political engagement. Using a U.S. national survey, this study seeks to contribute to the literature by testing the mediating role of heterogeneous and homogeneous political discussion in predicting the relationship between incidental news exposure and political participation. Findings show that heterogeneous discussion fully mediates the relationship with offline participation. The relationship with online participation was partially mediated. Mediation of homogeneous discussion to political participation did not occur. Moreover, a moderated mediation analysis finds that the mediation of heterogeneous discussion is more likely to occur among partisans than nonpartisans. Limitations and further suggestions to advance this line of research are provided in this study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science(all)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration