Media Bias in the 2008 Election: Letters to the Editor

by John Sides on February 25, 2010 · 5 comments

in Campaigns and elections,Media

During the 2008 presidential election we submitted letters to the editor at 100 major U.S. newspapers as part of a field experiment to test whether interest in the letter depended on which candidate the letter supported. We find, contrary to what charges of a liberal media bias would suggest, that newspapers expressed more interest in pro-McCain letters than pro-Obama letters. Further, we find that papers were most likely to be interested in letters supporting the candidate they did not endorse, a result that is consistent with the idea that editors seem to be using their gate keeping powers to allow dissenting opinions to be heard.

That is from a newly published paper by Daniel Butler and Emily Schofield. An ungated version is here.


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