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A Measure of Media Bias

  • Tim Groseclose

    (Department of Political Science, University of California at Los Angeles)

  • Jeffrey Milyo

    (Department of Economics and Truman school of Public Affairs, University of Missouri)

We measure media bias by estimating ideological scores for several major media outlets. To compute this, we count the times that a particular media outlet cites various think tanks and policy groups, and then compare this with the times that members of Congress cite the same groups. Our results show a strong liberal bias: all of the news outlets we examine, except Fox News' Special Report and the Washington Times, received scores to the left of the average member of Congress. Consistent with claims made by conservative critics, CBS Evening News and the New York Times received scores far to the left of center. The most centrist media outlets were PBS News Hour, CNN's Newsnight, and ABC's Good Morning America; among print outlets, USA Today was closest to the center. All of our findings refer strictly to news content; that is, we exclude editorials, letters, and the like. Copyright (c) 2005 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 120 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1191-1237

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:4:p:1191-1237
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  1. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Media Bias," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1981, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Simeon Djankov & Caralee McLiesh & Tatiana Nenova & Andrei Shleifer, . "Who Owns the Media?," Working Paper 19470, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  3. John R. Lott, Jr., 1999. "Public Schooling, Indoctrination, and Totalitarianism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S127-S157, December.
  4. Daniel Sutter, 2002. "Advertising and Political Bias in the Media: The Market for Criticism of the Market Economy," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 725-745, 07.
  5. repec:cto:journl:v:20:y:2001:i:3:p:431-451 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Market for News," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1031-1053, September.
  7. Baron, David P., 2004. "Persistent Media Bias," Research Papers 1845r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  8. Dwight R. Lee, 2001. "The Internet, the Market, and Communication: Don't Ignore the Shoe While Admiring the Shine," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 20(3), Fall.
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