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Are biased media bad for democracy?

Wolton, Stephane (2019) Are biased media bad for democracy? American Journal of Political Science, 63 (3). 548 - 562. ISSN 0092-5853

[img] Text (Are Biased Media Bad for Democracy?) - Accepted Version
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Identification Number: 10.1111/ajps.12424


This article assesses the normative and positive claims regarding the consequences of biased media using a political agency framework that includes a strategic voter, polarized politicians, and news providers. My model predicts that voters are always better informed with unbiased than with biased outlets even when the latter have opposite ideological preferences. However, biased media may improve voter welfare. Contrary to several scholars' fears, partisan news providers are not always bad for democracy. My theoretical findings also have important implications for empirical analyses of the electoral consequences of changes in the media environment. The impact of left-wing and right-wing biased outlets depends on the partisan identity of officeholders. Empirical findings may, thus, not be comparable across studies or even over time within a study. Existing empirical works are unlikely to measure the consequences of biased media, as researchers never observe and can rarely approximate the adequate counterfactual: elections with unbiased news outlets.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 Midwest Political Science Association
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2019 00:05
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 02:22

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