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Working paper

Making Politics Attractive: Political Satire and Exposure to Political Information in New Media Environment in Russia

Chmel K., Savin N., Michael X. D. C.
There is an extensive body of research devoted to how political satire affects political knowledge and political behavior. Extant studies are focused on political satire in democratic countries and do not pay enough attention to authoritarian regimes. This study extends this research to non- democratic regimes, while also adding to it by exploring the extent to which the use of political satire encourages exposure to political information. We conduct an online experiment on the sample of Russian students. We borrow satirical pictures from Lentach – popular Russian socialmedia public page, whose motto is “a propaganda of common sense” as opposed to biasedpolitical messages proliferated by government-controlled media outlets. Using both frequentist and Bayesian approaches, we found that access to political information containing satirical illustrating content increases attention to the information, relative to political news reports accompanied by standard news illustrations. The findings contribute to the literature on the political entertainment and exposure to political information, as well as to research on media under authoritarianism.