Ideological Persuasion in the Media

45 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2005

See all articles by David J. Balan

David J. Balan

U.S. Federal Trade Commission

Patrick DeGraba

Federal Trade Commission - Antitrust I

Abraham L. Wickelgren

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law; University of Texas at Austin - Center for Law, Business, and Economics

Date Written: December 16, 2004

Abstract

Media outlet owners can modify their outlet's content so as to persuade audiences to adopt positions consistent with their preferred ideologies. In this paper, we assume that outlet owners value such persuasion, and therefore will engage in it at the cost of some reduction in profits. We compare the level and diversity of persuasion that occur under two regimes: one in which common ownership of media outlets is prohibited and the other in which it is permitted. We show that mergers between outlets whose owners have identical ideologies increase the level of persuasion, and mergers between outlets whose owners have different ideologies can increase or decrease the level of persuasion. We also show that unrestricted market competition does not necessarily generate diversity, that prohibiting monopoly control over the media does not guarantee diversity, and that, while rules prohibiting monopolization can sometimes promote diversity, in some circumstances these rules can also reduce diversity. This can occur because potential owners care about who will acquire an outlet if they do not.

Keywords: Ideology, Media Bias, Media Diversity, Persuasion

JEL Classification: D21, L21, L51, Z00

Suggested Citation

Balan, David J. and DeGraba, Patrick and Wickelgren, Abraham L., Ideological Persuasion in the Media (December 16, 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=637304 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.637304

David J. Balan (Contact Author)

U.S. Federal Trade Commission ( email )

600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20580
United States

Patrick DeGraba

Federal Trade Commission - Antitrust I ( email )

600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Rm. 4249
Washington, DC 20580
United States
202-326-2855 (Phone)
202-326-3443 (Fax)

Abraham L. Wickelgren

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States

University of Texas at Austin - Center for Law, Business, and Economics

Austin, TX 78712
United States

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