Bias in Cable News: Persuasion and Polarization

96 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2014 Last revised: 1 Jan 2015

See all articles by Gregory Martin

Gregory Martin

Emory University

Ali Yurukoglu

Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 2014


We measure the persuasive effects of slanted news and tastes for like-minded news, exploiting cable channel positions as exogenous shifters of cable news viewership. Channel positions do not correlate with demographics that predict viewership and voting, nor with local satellite viewership. We estimate that Fox News increases Republican vote shares by 0.3 points among viewers induced into watching 2.5 additional minutes per week by variation in position. We then estimate a model of voters who select into watching slanted news, and whose ideologies evolve as a result. We quantitatively assess media-driven polarization, and simulate alternative ideological slanting of news channels.

Suggested Citation

Martin, Gregory and Yurukoglu, Ali, Bias in Cable News: Persuasion and Polarization (December 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20798. Available at SSRN:

Gregory Martin

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Ali Yurukoglu

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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