Selective reporting of factual content by commercial media

Yi Zhu, Anthony Dukes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The authors study the market for factual content and examine whether competition increases or decreases its provision. Factual content is supplied by commercial media firms, which observe a set of facts depicting the state of the world and selectively decide how to report them. Consumers value content that matches their opinion, which incentivizes media firms to slant their reports by omitting certain facts. Novel features in the authors' model include consumers' ability to anticipate the media's incentives for slant and the requirement that all media stances must be supported by facts. Furthermore, consumers find reports with more facts to be more convincing. Despite consumers' ability to detect slant and their demand for factual support, the research shows that competition results in consumers reading fewer facts and being unable to update their prior beliefs about the state of the world. The authors also find that a monopoly medium may be more polarizing than competitive media and that polarized reporting can be less biased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-76
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Volume52
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

Keywords

  • Cheap talk
  • Factual content
  • Information goods
  • Media bias
  • Media competition

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