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How Partisan is the Press? Multiple Measures of Media Slant

32 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2009 Last revised: 24 Jan 2012

Joshua S. Gans

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; NBER

Andrew Leigh

Australian National University - Economics Program, Research School of Social Sciences

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 9, 2009

Abstract

We employ several different approaches to estimate the political position of Australian media outlets, relative to federal parliamentarians. First, we use parliamentary mentions to code over 100 public intellectuals on a left-right scale. We then estimate slant by using the number of mentions that each public intellectual receives in each media outlet. Second, we have independent raters separately code front-page election stories and headlines. Third, we tabulate the number of electoral endorsements that newspapers give to each side of politics in federal elections. Overall, we find that the Australian media are quite centrist, with very few outlets being statistically distinguishable from the middle of Australian politics. It is possible that this is due to the lack of competition in the Australian media market. To the extent that we can separate content slant from editorial slant, we find some evidence that editors are more partisan than journalists.

Keywords: media slant, media bias, competition, economics of elections

JEL Classification: D72, L82

Suggested Citation

Gans, Joshua S. and Leigh, Andrew, How Partisan is the Press? Multiple Measures of Media Slant (December 9, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1521231 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1521231

Joshua S. Gans

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.joshuagans.com

NBER ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Andrew Leigh (Contact Author)

Australian National University - Economics Program, Research School of Social Sciences ( email )

HC Coombs Building
Australian National University
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia
+61261251374 (Phone)
+61261250182 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://econrsss.anu.edu.au/~aleigh/

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