ANALYSIS – The Fox News Effect


The National Bureau of Economic Research’s work on the Fox News Effect discusses the affect of media bias on voting. Seeing as I would love to investigate this further, I thought that this was a wonderful text to analyse.

The question of ‘does media bias affect voting’ is addressed through Fox News’ impact on Voting. In the four years between 1996 and 2000, Fox News was introduced into 20% of US Towns. They then went onto research quantitatively, using a data set of voting data for 9 256 towns in the US, this investigating if republicans gained vote share in the towns that Fox News was broadcasted. During presidential elections between 1996 and 2000, a remarkable effect on the vote share was noticed. Republicans had gained 0.4% to 0.7% points where Fox News was broadcasted. It was concluded that Fox News somehow persuaded 3-8% of their viewers to vote Republican. The text states “we interpret the results in light of a simple model of voter learning about media bias and politician quality” (DellaVigna, S., Kaplan, E., 2006).

Stefano DellaVigna is an academic at the University of California, and Ethan Caplan is an academic at the University of Maryland. Through thorough research, and their roles as professors at their respected universities, they have come up with the article that questions media bias.

The text uses a lot of research and date to give evidence for their conclusions and key ideas. They use quantitative data to represent the periodical events in which occur during the key years. Quantitative data is also used through the use of statistics – whether it be voting statistics, Fox News, persuasion rates or presidential elections, they backed up everything with evidence. This is evident through the mathematical equations throughout the text. The text also defines every element, so that you understand completely what is going on in the sense of every element of the text.

The text provides a copious amount of research and planning that has gone into it – leaving an open conclusion, but also giving lots of answers. The author’s make their opinion clear and are determined to finish with a definite outcome. Lots of proof is evident as quantitative data is used through statistics throughout the entire text.

All in all, it was an extremely hard piece to get through, but I enjoyed reading it, as it opened my eyes to a very specific type of news bias in America.

Love, Lauren


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