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Newspaper Ideological Bias


  • William L. Anderson
  • Jacquelynne W. Mc Lellan


Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, acid rain was an important topic of public debate. Newspapers ramped up coverage in the early 1980s, which then peaked in the mid-1980s and died off slowly in the late 1980s and early 1990s, to be rarely seen again. The question asked is whether the tone of the acid rain coverage was an example of alleged "liberal bias" of journalists, or if it was due to other factors. This paper examines various explanations of newspaper behavior, including one given by the late Warren Brookes concluding that the real bias of reporters tends toward the expansion of government, or the "statist quo". In our paper, we examine the coverage of acid rain before and after the election of George Bush in 1988, an event that led directly to the passage of the the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which had strong acid rain provisions. Our statistical tests, while mixed, give credence to the "statist quo" hypothesis, especially where newspapers of "national stature" are concerned. Copyright 2006 American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • William L. Anderson & Jacquelynne W. Mc Lellan, 2006. "Newspaper Ideological Bias," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 473-495, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ajecsc:v:65:y:2006:i:3:p:473-495

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