Tuning In, Not Turning Out: Evaluating the Impact of Ethnic Television on Political Participation

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Citation: Yamil Ricardo Velez, Benjamin J. Newman Tuning In, Not Turning Out: Evaluating the Impact of Ethnic Television on Political Participation.

doi: 10.1111/ajps.12427 Wikidata: Q67011972


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Summary:

Authors evaluate the relationship between ethnic media and political participation using the case of Latinos in the United States and employ a geographic regression discontinuity (GRD) approach involving FCC reception boundaries that demarcate points in space where stations are no longer protected from interference. Focusing on the introduction of SLTV stations in North Carolina and Florida, find turnout depressed in subsequent elections among Latinos who fall just inside and just outside the reception boundary for these stations. GRD findings replicated with traditional model-based analysis of nationally representative surveys of Latinos. These survey data provide tentative evidence that the negative effects observed for ethnic media on electoral participation might be due to a “cocooning” process, whereby watching television at home leads to a withdrawal from social life.

11 existing studies examined the effects of ethnic media on political attitudes and behavior. Out of 24 statistical tests spread across these 11 studies, 41% find a positive relationship between ethnic media and political engagement, 29% negative, 30% null or mixed. However many of these studies rely on self-reporting.