Ideological Persuasion in the Media
45 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2005
Date Written: December 16, 2004
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: Suggested Citation