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The Balanced Us Press

Listed author(s):
  • Riccardo Puglisi
  • James M. Snyder Jr.

We measure the relative ideological positions of newspapers, voters, interest groups, and political parties, using data on ballot propositions. We exploit the fact that newspapers, parties, and interest groups take positions on these propositions, and the fact that citizens ultimately vote on them. We find that, on average, newspapers in the United States are located almost exactly at the median voter in their states—that is, they are balanced around the median voter. Still, there is a significant amount of ideological heterogeneity across newspapers, which is smaller than the one found for interest groups. However, when we group propositions by issue area, we find a sizable amount of ideological imbalance: broadly speaking, newspapers are to the left of the state-level median voter on many social issues, and to the right on many economic issues. To complete the picture, we use two existing methods of measuring bias and show that the news and editorial sections of newspapers have almost identical partisan positions.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.12101
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Article provided by European Economic Association in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 13 (2015)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 240-264

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:13:y:2015:i:2:p:240-264
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  1. Alan S. Gerber & Dean Karlan & Daniel Bergan, 2009. "Does the Media Matter? A Field Experiment Measuring the Effect of Newspapers on Voting Behavior and Political Opinions," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 35-52, April.
  2. 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.
  3. Stefano DellaVigna & Matthew Gentzkow, 2010. "Persuasion: Empirical Evidence," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 643-669, September.
  4. Puglisi Riccardo, 2011. "Being The New York Times: the Political Behaviour of a Newspaper," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-34, April.
  5. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234.
  6. Riccardo Puglisi & James M. Snyder, Jr., 2008. "Media Coverage of Political Scandals," NBER Working Papers 14598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Chun-Fang Chiang & Brian Knight, 2011. "Media Bias and Influence: Evidence from Newspaper Endorsements," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(3), pages 795-820.
  8. Bernhardt, Dan & Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias, 2008. "Political polarization and the electoral effects of media bias," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1092-1104, June.
  9. Tim Groseclose & Jeffrey Milyo, 2005. "A Measure of Media Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1191-1237.
  10. Baron, David P., 2006. "Persistent media bias," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 1-36, January.
  11. Gasper, John T., 2011. "Shifting Ideologies? Re-examining Media Bias," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 6(1), pages 85-102, August.
  12. Gehlbach, Scott & Sonin, Konstantin, 2014. "Government control of the media," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 163-171.
  13. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Media Bias and Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 280-316, April.
  14. 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.
  15. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2011. "The Political Economy of Mass Media," CEPR Discussion Papers 8246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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