The Role of Theory and Evidence in Media Regulation and Law: Response to Baker and a Defense of Empirical Legal Studies

61 Federal Communications Law Journal 673 (2009)

Daniel E. Ho & Kevin M. Quinn


We thank Professor Baker for a stimulating response to an article in which we offered empirical evidence of editorial viewpoint diversity in the face of media consolidation. We appreciate his praise of the article as "apply[ing] innovative statistical techniques" and as "far superior methodologically to most empirical studies" he has seen. At the same time Baker "denies the policy relevance" to our article because empirical evidence is "entirely irrelevant" to the field of media regulation under his preferred normative theory. Baker argues sweepingly that the legal academy's increased willingness to consider the perspectives of quantitative empiricists and positive theorists is "malignant," and that law is best confined to normative theory and "value-based inquiries" -- to the exclusion of positive investigation. Because of the provocative nature of the specific critiques of our article and the general across-the-board indictment of positive scholarship and empirical legal studies, we respond.

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