Media commercialization has long been suspected of exerting a negative influence upon political culture. The news media's interest in intrigues, personal details, and scandals rather than political issues in order to capture audience attention is regarded by many as a prime source of political cynicism. This article scrutinizes this claim by examining whether a commercialized media environment correlates with lower levels of citizen political trust across countries. Integrating cross-national survey data with country-level measures of commercialized political coverage, the findings indicate that, across 33 European countries, a negative link exists between media commercialization and political trust. Replication of the analysis with a separate cross-national survey across 28 countries demonstrated the robustness of the findings. These support the claim that media commercialization undermines political trust.
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