Media Coverage of Political Scandals
We analyze the coverage of U.S. political scandals by U.S. newspapers during the past decade. Using automatic keyword-based searches we collected data on 35 scandals and approximately 200 newspapers. We find that Democratic-leaning newspapers -- i.e., those with a higher propensity to endorse Democratic candidates in elections -- give relatively more coverage to scandals involving Republican politicians than scandals involving Democratic politicians, while Republican-leaning newspapers tend to do the opposite. This is true even when controlling for the average partisan leanings of readers. In contrast, newspapers appear to cater to the partisan tastes of readers only for local scandals.
We thank John Lovett and Mike Naber for their valuable research assistance at different stages of the project. We also thank Gabe Lenz, Maria Petrova and Glenn Richardson for their helpful comments. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.