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The Balanced Us Press

Author

Listed:
  • Riccardo Puglisi
  • James M. Snyder Jr.

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Riccardo Puglisi & James M. Snyder Jr., 2015. "The Balanced Us Press," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 240-264, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:13:y:2015:i:2:p:240-264
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.12101
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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, January.
    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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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sobbrio, Francesco, 2014. "Citizen-editors' endogenous information acquisition and news accuracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 43-53.
    2. Petrova, Maria, 2012. "Mass media and special interest groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 17-38.
    3. 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.
    4. Francesco Sobbrio, 2012. "A Citizen-Editors Model of News Media," RSCAS Working Papers 2012/61, European University Institute.
    5. Rudiger, Jesper, 2013. "Cross-Checking the Media," MPRA Paper 51786, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Fernanda Leite Lopez Leon, 2016. "Endorse or Not to Endorse: Understanding the Determinants of Newspapers’ Likelihood of Making Political Recommendations," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 63(4), pages 357-376, September.
    7. John Lott & Kevin Hassett, 2014. "Is newspaper coverage of economic events politically biased?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 65-108, July.
    8. Larcinese, Valentino & Sircar, Indraneel, 2017. "Crime and punishment the British way: Accountability channels following the MPs’ expenses scandal," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 75-99.
    9. Agustin Casas & Yarine Fawaz & Andre Trindade, 2016. "Surprise Me If You Can: The Influence Of Newspaper Endorsements In U.S. Presidential Elections," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(3), pages 1484-1498, July.
    10. Wolton, Stephane, 2017. "Are Biased Media Bad for Democracy?," MPRA Paper 84837, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Costas-Pérez, Elena & Solé-Ollé, Albert & Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, 2012. "Corruption scandals, voter information, and accountability," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 469-484.
    12. repec:ctc:serie1:def5 is not listed on IDEAS

    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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