Using behavioral web-tracking data collected over the 2016 U.S. general election, Matthew Tyler, Justin Grimmer and Shanto Iyengar demonstrate that partisans direct their attention at congenial sources and apolitical portal sites, while ignoring more antagonistic news outlets. While users of all-purpose sites such as Yahoo and MSN come from across the political spectrum, users of dedicated news sites diverge by their partisanship. The authors further demonstrate that partisans tend to consume more news when campaign events favor their party's candidate. They show that the release of the Access Hollywood tape increased news consumption among Democrats, while the announcement of the Comey letter bolstered news consumption among Republicans. These short-term effects on news consumption proved asymmetric. While partisans became more engaged in the aftermath of “good news,'' the authors find no evidence that they avoided exposure to the news in the aftermath of “bad news.'' Overall, the results show that partisans engage with the news more frequently when the news favors their side, and they engage at sites that attract like-minded partisans.
Shanto Iyengar Bio