Media Slant is Contagious
62 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2020 Last revised: 20 Apr 2023
Date Written: April 20, 2023
This paper examines the diffusion of media slant, specifically how partisan content from national cable news affects local newspapers in the U.S., 2005-2008. We use a text-based measure of cable news slant trained on content from Fox News Channel (FNC), CNN, and MSNBC to analyze how local newspapers adopt FNC's slant over CNN/MSNBC's. Our findings show that local news becomes more similar to FNC content in response to an exogenous increase in local FNC viewership. This shift is not limited to borrowing from cable news, but rather, local newspapers' own content changes. Further, cable TV slant polarizes local news content.
Keywords: media slant, text as data, local news markets
JEL Classification: L82, C53, D72, D23, O33, Z13
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