Bias in Cable News: Persuasion and Polarization†

Bias in Cable News: Persuasion and Polarization† AbstractWe measure the persuasive effects of slanted news and tastes for like-minded news, exploiting cable channel positions as exogenous shifters of cable news viewership. Channel positions do not correlate with demographics that predict viewership and voting, nor with local satellite viewership. We estimate that Fox News increases Republican vote shares by 0.3 points among viewers induced into watching 2.5 additional minutes per week by variation in position. We then estimate a model of voters who select into watching slanted news, and whose ideologies evolve as a result. We use the model to assess the growth over time of Fox News influence, to quantitatively assess media-driven polarization, and to simulate alternative ideological slanting of news channels. (JEL D72, L82) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Economic Review American Economic Association

Bias in Cable News: Persuasion and Polarization†

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Publisher
American Economic Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 © American Economic Association
ISSN
0002-8282
D.O.I.
10.1257/aer.20160812
Publisher site
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Abstract

AbstractWe measure the persuasive effects of slanted news and tastes for like-minded news, exploiting cable channel positions as exogenous shifters of cable news viewership. Channel positions do not correlate with demographics that predict viewership and voting, nor with local satellite viewership. We estimate that Fox News increases Republican vote shares by 0.3 points among viewers induced into watching 2.5 additional minutes per week by variation in position. We then estimate a model of voters who select into watching slanted news, and whose ideologies evolve as a result. We use the model to assess the growth over time of Fox News influence, to quantitatively assess media-driven polarization, and to simulate alternative ideological slanting of news channels. (JEL D72, L82)

Journal

American Economic ReviewAmerican Economic Association

Published: Sep 1, 2017

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