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How Partisan is the Press? Multiple Measures of Media Slant

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  • JOSHUA S. GANS
  • ANDREW LEIGH

Abstract

We employ several different approaches to estimate the political position of Australian media outlets, relative to federal parliamentarians. First, we use parliamentary mentions to code over 100 public intellectuals on a left-right scale. We then estimate slant by using the number of mentions that each public intellectual receives in each media outlet. Second, we have independent raters separately code front-page election stories and headlines. Third, we tabulate the number of electoral endorsements that newspapers give to each side of politics in federal elections. Overall, we find that the Australian media are quite centrist, with very few outlets being statistically distinguishable from the middle of Australian politics. It is possible that this is due to the lack of competition in the Australian media market. To the extent that we can separate content slant from editorial slant, we find some evidence that editors are more partisan than journalists.
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Suggested Citation

  • Joshua S. Gans & Andrew Leigh, 2012. "How Partisan is the Press? Multiple Measures of Media Slant," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(280), pages 127-147, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:88:y:2012:i:280:p:127-147
    DOI: j.1475-4932.2011.00782.x
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1475-4932.2011.00782.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Larcinese, Valentino & Puglisi, Riccardo & Snyder, James M., 2011. "Partisan bias in economic news: Evidence on the agenda-setting behavior of U.S. newspapers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1178-1189.
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    3. Campante, Filipe R. & Hojman, Daniel A., 2013. "Media and polarization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 79-92.
    4. Gambaro, Marco & Puglisi, Riccardo, 2015. "What do ads buy? Daily coverage of listed companies on the Italian press," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 41-57.
    5. Alex Millmow, 2005. "Australian economics in the twentieth century," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(6), pages 1011-1026, November.
    6. Tim Groseclose & Jeffrey Milyo, 2005. "A Measure of Media Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1191-1237.
    7. Ruben Durante & Brian Knight, 2012. "Partisan Control, Media Bias, And Viewer Responses: Evidence From Berlusconi'S Italy," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 451-481, May.
    8. Ho, Daniel E. & Quinn, Kevin M., 2008. "Measuring Explicit Political Positions of Media," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 353-377, December.
    9. Jonathan Reuter & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Do Ads Influence Editors? Advertising and Bias in the Financial Media," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 197-227.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:jbuset:v:144:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2851-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Rodrigo Taborda, 2013. "Bias in Economic News: The Reporting of Nominal Exchange Rate Behavior in Colombia," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2013), pages 103-153, August.
    3. repec:hrv:faseco:33078973 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jeffrey Cohen & Yuan Ding & Cédric Lesage & Hervé Stolowy, 2017. "Media Bias and the Persistence of the Expectation Gap: An Analysis of Press Articles on Corporate Fraud," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 637-659, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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