The Consequences of Broader Media Choice: Evidence from the Expansion of Fox News
Daniel J. Hopkins
Jonathan McDonald Ladd
Georgetown University - Department of Government
May 30, 2012
In recent decades, the diversity of Americans’ news choices has expanded substantially. This paper examines whether access to an ideologically distinctive news source — the Fox News cable channel — influences vote intentions. It also considers whether any such effect is concentrated among those likely to agree with Fox’s viewpoint. To test these possibilities with individual-level data, we identify local Fox News availability for 22,592 respondents to the 2000 National Annenberg Election Survey. For the population overall, we find an average treatment effect indistinguishable from zero. Yet we also find a sizable effect of Fox access on the vote intentions of Republicans and pure independents, a finding that is bolstered by placebo tests. Contrary to fears about pervasive media influence, but consistent with an older tradition of media scholarship, access to an ideologically distinctive media source reinforces the loyalties of co-partisans without influencing out-partisans.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39working papers series
Date posted: May 30, 2012 ; Last revised: September 22, 2012
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