Media Coverage Of Political Scandals

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Executive Summary

The authors analyze the coverage of U.S. political scandals by U.S. newspapers during the past decade. Using automatic keyword-based searches they collected data on 35 scandals and approximately 200 newspapers. They find that Democratic-leaning newspapers - i.e., those with a higher propensity to endorse Democratic candidates in elections - give relatively more coverage to scandals involving Republican politicians than scandals involving Democratic politicians, while Republican-leaning newspapers tend to do the opposite. This is true even when controlling for the average partisan leanings of readers. In contrast, newspapers appear to cater to the partisan tastes of readers only for local scandals.

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