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The 'liberal' media: bias or customer preferences?

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Allegations of liberal bias against the national news media in the US remain very contentious. Conservative critics of the media argue biased news stems from liberal-leaning journalists. Another explanation of alleged bias could be that liberals have a greater demand for news than moderates or conservatives, so the media simply tailors its product to their customers. I test whether liberals in the US have a greater demand for news by investigating the determinants of newspaper circulation across states and metropolitan areas. I find mixed evidence for liberal demand: circulation is higher in more liberal metropolitan areas but is independent of local political preferences across states.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036840802419009

Affiliations: Department of Economics and Finance, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX 78539-2999, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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