Assessing Political Positions of Media

36 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2007

See all articles by Daniel E. Ho

Daniel E. Ho

Stanford Law School

Kevin M. Quinn

Emory University School of Law

Date Written: June 21, 2007


Although central to understanding the role of the media, few quantitative measures of the political positions of media exist. Collecting and classifying editorials adopted by 23 major U.S. newspapers on 495 Supreme Court cases from 1994-2004, we apply an item response theoretic approach to place newspapers on a substantively meaningful - and long validated - scale of political preferences. Our results provide significant insights into the study of the media. We show that 17 of the 23 papers are more likely to the left of the median Justice for this period, but also find considerable evidence that this may be an artifact of the liberalness of urban, elite, high circulation papers.

Keywords: media bias, item response theory, ideal points, bayesian, measurement, supreme court

JEL Classification: C11, C25, L82, K00, D29, D72

Suggested Citation

Ho, Daniel E. and Quinn, Kevin M., Assessing Political Positions of Media (June 21, 2007). Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 343, Available at SSRN: or

Daniel E. Ho (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650-723-9560 (Phone)


Kevin M. Quinn

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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