Partisan Bias in Economic News

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Can newspapers influence public opinion based on their coverage of economic matters? That’s the question Melissa Lafsky asks in the New York Times Freakanomics blog, citing a buzzy paper entitled ”Partisan Bias in Economic News: Evidence on the Agenda-Setting Behavior of U.S. Newspapers.” In the paper three professors — Riccardo Puglisi, James Snyder and Valentino Larcinese — examined ”a large sample” of American newspapers over the last decade, identifying whether or not they were liberal or conservative based on their endorsement policies. What they learned:

”We find evidence that newspapers with [a] pro-Democratic endorsement pattern systematically give more coverage to high unemployment when the incumbent president is a Republican than when the president is Democratic, compared to newspapers with [a] pro-Republican endorsement pattern. This result is not driven by the partisanship of readers. There is on the contrary no evidence of a partisan bias — or at least of a bias that is correlated with the endorsement policy — for stories on inflation, budget deficit or trade deficit.”

Is objectivity a naive myth?

(image via clipart)