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Objectivity and Information Bias in Campaign News

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This article examines whether objective campaign news stories—defined here as those with equitable tone toward 2 competing candidates—are less informative than slanted stories favoring one candidate over the other. Using a large news content dataset composed of campaign news stories from statewide elections in 2004, 2006, and 2008, we measure news story quality 6 different ways. It is modeled as a function of differences in story tone toward opposing candidates and a host of other news outlet and electoral characteristics known to influence the nature and type of information in campaign news. We find that slant is positively related to the likelihood that news articles focus on substance, issues, and include sourced content.
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Keywords: Bias; Campaign News; Information Quality; Objectivity; Slant

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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