Fragility of Strong Media Effects in Authoritarian Environment (Evidence from Russia)
The paper is devoted to the issue to what extent mass media produces strong attitudes in an authoritarian political environment. A growing body of research scrutinize how contemporary autocracies use media to promote legitimizing messages and undermine opposition. This study contributes to the literature by showing whether public opinion formed under authoritarianism is strong in the face of counter-framing. While Russian state-owned TV-channels extensively promoted the idea that Donald Trump’s victory will be positive for Russian-American relations, we run an experimental study with various treatments. We revealed two major findings: (1) participants are strongly exposed to counter-framing, (2) those who watch news on state-owned TV-channels are more susceptible to the counter-framing effect.