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What Drives Media Slant? Evidence From U.S. Daily Newspapers

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  • Matthew Gentzkow
  • Jesse M. Shapiro

Abstract

We construct a new index of media slant that measures the similarity of a news outlet's language to that of a congressional Republican or Democrat. 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 profit-maximizing points with firms' actual choices. We find that readers have an economically significant preference for like-minded news. 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. Copyright 2010 The Econometric Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 78 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 35-71

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:78:y:2010:i:1:p:35-71

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  1. Baron, David P., 2006. "Persistent media bias," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 1-36, January.
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