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Political pundits on both sides of the aisle accuse newspapers of maintaining a liberal or conservative bias. New research suggests that newspapers choose their political slant based on what their readers prefer. To develop a measure of political positioning, the authors examined all phrases used by members of Congress in the 2005 Congressional Record and identified those used more often by one party than by another. They indexed a large sample of U.S. daily newspapers by the extent to which the use of politically charged phrases in their news coverage resembles the use of the same phrases in the speech of a congressional Democrat or Republican. This approach assumes that language used by speakers with a political agenda will tend to persuade listeners to support that agenda.
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