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Knowing is Not Loving: Media Effects on Knowledge About and Attitudes Toward the EU

Sun, May 28, 11:00 to 12:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 2, Indigo 206


Media provide the public with facts and information related to events on the level of the European Union. This information may alter individuals’ perceptions, ultimately resulting in attitude change toward the EU. Knowledge gains may indeed be an important mediator in this process. We present data from a recent study in the context of the 2016 EU Bratislava summit in which the Heads of the Union’s states discussed the outcome of the Brexit vote and the future of the EU. A two-wave panel survey was complemented with a content analysis of newspaper articles related to the summit. Our results show that when attending to news about the Bratislava meeting, citizens attain event-related knowledge which negatively affects both their evaluation of the EU’s performance as well as their feelings of negative affection toward the Union. We discuss our findings in light of the role media play in informing the European citizenry.