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Assessing Political Positions of Media

Daniel E. Ho

Stanford Law School

Kevin M. Quinn

UC Berkeley School of Law

June 21, 2007

Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 343

Although central to understanding the role of the media, few quantitative measures of the political positions of media exist. Collecting and classifying editorials adopted by 23 major U.S. newspapers on 495 Supreme Court cases from 1994-2004, we apply an item response theoretic approach to place newspapers on a substantively meaningful - and long validated - scale of political preferences. Our results provide significant insights into the study of the media. We show that 17 of the 23 papers are more likely to the left of the median Justice for this period, but also find considerable evidence that this may be an artifact of the liberalness of urban, elite, high circulation papers.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

Keywords: media bias, item response theory, ideal points, bayesian, measurement, supreme court

JEL Classification: C11, C25, L82, K00, D29, D72

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Date posted: July 5, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Ho, Daniel E. and Quinn, Kevin M., Assessing Political Positions of Media (June 21, 2007). Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 343. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=997428 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.997428

Contact Information

Daniel E. Ho (Contact Author)
Stanford Law School ( email )
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
Kevin M. Quinn
UC Berkeley School of Law ( email )
215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
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