Antitrust versus the Press: Two Systems of Belief About Monopoly
Cato Journal, Winter 2019 Vol. 39 No. 1, Pages 99-132
37 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2018 Last revised: 13 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 29, 2018
A large body of scholarship demonstrates that press coverage is beset with biases. Contemporary media coverage of large firms operating in the digital economy suggests that some of these biases may be at work when the press describes them as “monopolies.” We test this hypothesis by analyzing a dataset of 1800 press articles dealing with monopolies and spanning 150 years. We find that the press is systematically prone to sensationalism when covering “monopolies.” Throughout the time period of our study, media coverage of “monopolies” has been disproportionately negative and pessimistic. Because antitrust authorities do not operate in isolation from the mass media, these biases may have important policy consequences.
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