Selective Reporting of Factual Content by Commercial Media
University of Minnesota - Carlson School of Management
Anthony J. Dukes
University of Southern California
June 25, 2014
Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming
We study the market for factual content and ask whether competition increases or decreases its provision. Factual content is supplied by commercial media who observe a set of facts depicting the true state of the world and selectively decide how to report them. Consumers value content that matches their opinion, which gives media an incentive to slant their reports by omitting certain facts. The novel feature in our model is that consumers anticipate media’s incentives for slant and all stances taken by media must be supported by facts. Furthermore, reports with more facts are more convincing. Despite consumers ability to detect slant and demand for factual support, our results show that competition results in consumers reading fewer facts and unable to update their priors about the state. We also find that a monopoly medium may be more polarizing than competitive media, and a polarized reporting can be less biased.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 52
Keywords: Factual Content, Media Bias, Media Competition, Information Goods, Cheap-TalkAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 28, 2014 ; Last revised: July 13, 2014
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