What Drives Media Slant? Evidence from U.S. Daily Newspapers
We construct a new index of media slant that measures whether a news outlet.s language is more similar to that of a congressional Republican or Democrat. We apply the measure to study the market forces that determine political con- tent in the news. We estimate a model of newspaper demand that incorporates slant explicitly, estimate the slant that would be chosen if newspapers independently maximized their own profits, and compare these ideal points with .rms. actual choices. Our analysis confirms an economically significant demand for news slanted toward one's own political ideology. Firms respond strongly to consumer preferences, which account for roughly 20 percent of the variation in measured slant in our sample. By contrast, the identity of a newspaper's owner explains far less of the variation in slant. We also present evidence on the role of pressure from incumbent politicians, tastes of reporters, and newspaper competition in determining slant.
We are grateful to Attila Ambrus, David Autor, Gary Becker, Gary Chamberlain, Raj Chetty, Tim Conley, Liran Einav, Edward Glaeser, Tim Groseclose, Christian Hansen, Justine Hastings, Chris Hayes, Daniel Hojman, Matt Kahn, Larry Katz, John List, Kevin M. Murphy, Ben Olken, Ariel Pakes, Andrea Prat, Riccardo Puglisi, Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, Andrei Shleifer, Monica Singhal, Jim Snyder, Wing Suen, Catherine Thomas, Abe Wickelgren, and numerous seminar and conference participants for helpful comments. We especially wish to thank Renata Voccia, Paul Wilt, Todd Fegan, and the rest of the staff at ProQuest for their support and assistance at all stages of this project. Steve Cicala, Hays Golden, Jennifer Paniza, and Mike Sinkinson provided outstanding research assistance and showed tireless dedication to this project. We also thank Yujing Chen, Alex Fogel, Lisa Furchtgott, Ingrid Gonçalves, Hayden Haralson Hudson, and Hannah Melnicoe for excellent research assistance. This research was supported by National Science Foundation Grant SES-0617658 and the Centel Foundation/Robert P. Reuss Faculty Research Fund, the George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State, and the Initiative on Global Markets, all at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
- The ideology of the owners doesn't correlate in any significant way with the political slant of their newspapers' coverage. When a single...
Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2010. "What Drives Media Slant? Evidence From U.S. Daily Newspapers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 35-71, 01. citation courtesy of