When can a news organization lead public opinion?
30 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2008
Date Written: March 5, 2001
Do news organizations purposefully lead the public to support a particular ideological agenda? When debating this question, many analysts draw conclusions from weak empirical evidence. We introduce a model that clarifies how a news organization's internal structure combines with market forces to affect when it can lead public opinion. We identify conditions under which liberal reporters or politically-driven media magnates can achieve ideological goals. We also illuminate important barriers that prevent many would-be public opinion leaders from ever satisfying these conditions. We show that internal structure and market forces are critical determinants of any news organization's power over public opinion.
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