War Through Red- and Blue-Colored Glasses: Partisan News Self-Selection and Public Opinion on the NATO Intervention in Libya


This paper uses an online media exposure experiment to examine the role of selective exposure on attitude formation and reinforcement regarding the U.N. intervention in Libya shortly after its initiation. In particular, we examine both the baseline level of selective exposure behavior and levels following treatment to a condition where participants thought they might be called upon to defend their positions in a debate format. We find evidence that both the personal characteristics and attitudes of participants, as well as the setting in which they are being asked to conduct their information search, influence the quality and extensiveness of their information search, as well as their likelihood to expose themselves to information that disputes their prior opinions and incorporate such arguments into their reasoning process.