Persistent Media Bias
The news media plays an essential role in society, but surveys indicate that the public views the media as biased. This paper presents a theory of media bias that originates with private information obtained by journalists through their investigations and persists despite profit-maximizing news organizations and rivalry from other news organizations. Bias has two effects on the demand for news. First, rational individuals are more skeptical of potentially biased news and thus rely less on it in their decision-making. Second, bias makes certain stories more likely than others. This paper presents a supply-side theory in which bias originates with journalists who have career interests and are willing to sacrifice current wages for future opportunities. News organizations can control bias by restricting the discretion allowed to journalists, but granting discretion and tolerating bias can increase profits. The skepticism of individuals reduces demand and leads the news organization to set a lower price for its publication the greater is the bias it tolerates. Lower quality news thus commands a lower price. Bias is not driven from the market by a rival news organization nor by a news organization with an opposing bias. Moreover, bias can be greater with competition than with a monopoly news organization. If individuals collectively choose regulation in place of their individual decision-making, bias increases the expected stringency of regulation.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (650) 723-2146
Web page: http://gsbapps.stanford.edu/researchpapers/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2002.
NBER Working Papers
9295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Media Bias," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1981, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- David Str–mberg, 2004.
"Mass Media Competition, Political Competition, and Public Policy,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 265-284, 01.
- David Str�mberg, 2004. "Mass Media Competition, Political Competition, and Public Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 265-284.
- 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.
- Riccardo Puglisi, 2006. "Being The New York Times: Thepolitical Behaviour Of A Newspaper," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 20, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- repec:oup:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:4:p:1191-1237 is not listed on IDEAS
- David P. Baron, 2005. "Competing for the Public Through the News Media," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 339-376, 06.
- Bovitz, Gregory L & Druckman, James N & Lupia, Arthur, 2002. " When Can a News Organization Lead Public Opinion? Ideology versus Market Forces in Decisions to Make News," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(1-2), pages 127-55, October.
- Scott Stern, 1999. "Do Scientists Pay to Be Scientists?," NBER Working Papers 7410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1845r. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.