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The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voter Behavior ∗

By Stefano Dellavigna, Ethan Kaplan, Clarice Li, Tze Yang Lim, Ming Mai, Sameer Parekh, Sharmini Radakrishnan, Rohan Relan, Matthew Stone, Nan Zhang and Sibo Zhao


Does the media affect voting? We address this question by looking at the Fox News effect. Between October 1996 and November 2000, the conservative news channel was introduced in the cable programming of 20 percent of US towns. We investigate if Republicans gained vote share in towns where Fox News was broadcast. We find no significant effect of the introduction of Fox News on the vote share in Presidential elections between 1996 and 2000. We can rule out an effect of Fox News larger than 0.5 percentage points. We also find no significant effect of Fox News on voter turnout. Our results imply that Fox News convinced at most 2 percent of its viewers to vote Republican. This evidence suggests that voters are sophisticated and filter out media bias. Alternatively, voters select into the different media, so most Fox News viewers would already vote Republican

Year: 2004
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