The deliberative quality of a minipublic often depends on its ability to inform the opinions of a larger public. The Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) aims to do so by producing a Citizens’ Statement, which we conceptualize as a deliberative form of mass media. Like any mass media, this Statement can only influence public opinion to the extent that citizens consider it unbiased and credible. Hostile media perceptions often prevent favorable evaluations of media content, but no prior work has considered whether these perceptions could undermine the output of deliberative minipublics. To examine that possibility, we analyze online survey data on Oregon voters’ assessments of two 2014 Citizens’ Statements. Results showed that voters’ evaluations of the Statements were unaffected by hostile media perceptions. Assessments were more favorable when voters had confidence in their knowledge of the CIR’s design, process, and participants. Evaluations also were more positive for those voters with greater faith in deliberation’s capacity to render considered judgments. We elaborate on these findings in our discussion section and consider their theoretical and practical implications for implementing minipublics and bolstering their deliberative quality.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science