Shut up and listen: The influence of selective exposure to blogs on political tolerance

Thomas J. Johnson, Shannon L. Bichard, Weiwu Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Internet has provided scholars a unique opportunity to address the issue of democracy and political polarization by exploring the relationship between political tolerance and selective exposure. This study uses an online panel of Internet users from a major university to explore the degree to which selective exposure to blogs predicts tolerance to viewpoints they oppose. Specifically, this study investigates the degree to which selective exposure as well as reliance on blogs influences political tolerance after controlling for political and demographic factors. Reliance on face-to-face discussion is also examined as a source of direct and indirect influence. The results indicate that both selective exposure and reliance on blogs have no effect on levels of political tolerance; while increased political activity, higher socioeconomic status, and reliance on face-to-face discussion appear to exert a positive influence on political tolerance. Future research should continue examining specific factors that predict political tolerance in order to better understand and preserve a democratic climate conducive to freedom of expression.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternet Issues
Subtitle of host publicationBlogging, the Digital Divide and Digital Libraries
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781607418245
StatePublished - 2010


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