Fair? Balanced? A Study Finds It Does Not Matter

Disregarding third-party candidates, Professors DellaVigna and Kaplan found that towns that offered Fox by 2000 increased their vote share for the Republican presidential candidate by 6 percentage points (to 54 percent, from 48 percent) from 1996 to 2000, while those that did not offer Fox increased theirs by an even larger 7 percentage points (to 54 percent, from 47 percent).

When they made statistical adjustments to hold constant differences in demographic characteristics and unemployment, and looked at differences in voting behavior between towns that introduced and did not introduce Fox within the same Congressional district, the availability of Fox had a small and statistically insignificant effect on the increase in the share of votes for the Republican candidate. Thus, the introduction of Fox news did not appear to have increased the percentage of people voting for the Republican presidential candidate. A similar finding emerged for Congressional and senatorial elections.Voter turnout also did not noticeably change within towns that offered Fox by 2000 compared with those that did not. —Alan B. KreugerFair? Balanced? A Study Finds It Does Not Matter (NY Times)

An interesting claim: “The tendency for people to regard television news and political commentary as entertainment probably makes filtering easier.”