What Drives Demand for Media Slant?

53 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2017 Last revised: 18 Jul 2018

Marcel Garz

Hamburg Media School

Gaurav Sood

Independent

Daniel F. Stone

Bowdoin College - Department of Economics

Justin Wallace

University of Washington, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics, Students

Date Written: July 5, 2018

Abstract

Three major theories of demand for like-minded political news are that such news: 1) provides optimal instrumental value for decisions; 2) is perceived as more trustworthy; and 3) is psychologically more appealing. We assess these theories by estimating outlet-level slant, and the within-outlet slant-demand relationship, for news on a relatively objective topic with little instrumental value for decisions---"horse race'' news on poll results throughout the 2012 and 2016 US presidential campaigns from six major online outlets. We complement this analysis with micro-level data from incentivized surveys on news on the winners of presidential campaign debates. We obtain some results that best support the psychology theory, some results best supporting the trust theory, and some that can support either or both. Results mostly, but not entirely, fail to support the instrumental value theory.

Keywords: Media Bias, Media Slant, Horse Race News, Presidential Debate News, Confirmation Bias, Cognitive Dissonance, Polarization

JEL Classification: D72, D83

Suggested Citation

Garz, Marcel and Sood, Gaurav and Stone, Daniel F. and Wallace, Justin, What Drives Demand for Media Slant? (July 5, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3009791 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3009791

Marcel Garz

Hamburg Media School ( email )

Hamburg Media School
Finkenau 35
Hamburg, Hamburg 22081
Germany

Gaurav Sood

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Daniel F. Stone (Contact Author)

Bowdoin College - Department of Economics ( email )

Brunswick, ME 04011
United States
6463387833 (Phone)

Justin Wallace

University of Washington, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Box 353330
Seattle, WA 98195-3330
United States

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