Partisan Bias in Media Coverage of Political Scandals

We study the coverage of U.S. political scandals by U.S. newspapers during the past decade. Using automatic keyword-based searches we collected data on 32 scandals and approximately 200 newspapers. We find that Democratic-leaning newspapers—i.e., those with a higher propensity to endorse Democratic candidates in elections—provide relatively more coverage of scandals involving Republican politicians than scandals involving Democratic politicians, while Republican-leaning newspapers tend to do the opposite. This is true even after controlling for the average partisan leanings of readers. In contrast, newspapers appear to cater to the partisan tastes of readers only for local scandals.

From this piece by Riccardo Puglisi and James Snyder, which is ungated for the next two weeks.  Enterprising researchers can update the study by comparing, say, New York Times and New York Daily News coverage of Carlos Danger.

One Response to Partisan Bias in Media Coverage of Political Scandals

  1. David Parker August 7, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Given how members of the House have politicized congressional investigations (initiating more and dragging them out in divided government while suppressing them in unified government–see Parker and Dull 2009 and Parker and Dull 2013), this result surprises me not at all.