Bias in Cable News: Persuasion and Polarization
We measure the persuasive effects of slanted news and tastes for like-minded news. We use cable channel positions as exogenous shifters of cable news viewership. We examine whether channel positions correlate with variables which predict viewership and voting. We estimate that Fox News increases the likelihood of voting Republican by 0.3 points among viewers induced into watching 2.5 additional minutes per week by differential positions. We estimate a model of voters who select into watching slanted news, and whose ideologies evolve as a result. We quantitatively assess media driven polarization, and simulate alternative ideological slanting of news channels.
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This paper was revised on December 14, 2015
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20798