Even if educational levels are assumed to determine the frequency of consumption of TV, radio, and newspapers, the analysis of when and why this relationship takes place is underdeveloped. Departing from the information-processing capacity and the knowledge gap hypotheses, this study suggests that the impact of education on media exposure depends on the level of political conflict across political systems. The more conflictive the political system is in terms of ideological polarization, sudden changes in democratic stability and lack of free press, the higher the tendency of more educated people to get involved in the public sphere through media exposure. The findings have been confirmed across 23 political systems through hierarchical linear models using the European Social Survey 2006 and 2008. © 2011 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The World Association for Public Opinion Research. All rights reserved.