Perceptions of News Media, External Efficacy, and Public Affairs Apathy in Political Decision Making and Disaffection
AbstractA telephone survey of 416 randomly selected registered voters examined the distinctive contributions of cynicism and skepticism to citizens’ media satisfaction, external political efficacy, and apathy. Results suggest that cynicism and skepticism reflect dissatisfaction with media coverage, but have opposite effects on external efficacy. Cynicism has no relationship with apathy, while skepticism decreases it. Satisfaction with news media increases efficacy and apathy. Although cynicism’s relationship to efficacy is of concern, these findings undercut the argument frequently made that dissatisfaction with media coverage is responsible for cynicism and political apathy.