Is There Within-outlet Demand for Media Slant? Evidence from US Presidential Campaign News
45 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2017 Last revised: 3 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 1, 2019
Variation in political slant across media outlets, and demand for such slant, has been studied extensively. We conduct a novel within-outlet (and within-topic) analysis of the demand for "congenially" slanted news. We study so-called horse race news from six major online outlets for the 2012 and 2016 US presidential campaigns. We find very limited evidence of higher demand for more congenial stories, and somewhat stronger evidence of higher demand for more uncongenial stories. However, we also find that, as expected, news is slanted congenially across outlets, counter-acting (and perhaps causing) any within-outlet preference for uncongenial slant. We discuss how our results are consistent with the three major mechanisms driving demand for slant studied in the theoretical literature, and enhance understanding of when each mechanism is more likely to come into play.
Keywords: Media Bias, Media Slant, Horse Race News, Presidential Debate News, Confirmation Bias, Cognitive Dissonance, Polarization
JEL Classification: D72, D83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation