Measuring Explicit Political Positions of Media

4 Quarterly Journal of Political Science 353 (2009)

Daniel E. Ho & Kevin M. Quinn


Although central to understanding the role of the media in the political system, few quantitative measures of the explicit political positions of media exist. We amass a new, large-scale dataset to shed light on this question. Collecting and classifying over 1500 editorials adopted by 25 major U.S. newspapers on 495 Supreme Court cases from 1994-2004, we apply an item response theoretic approach to place newspaper editorial boards on a substantively meaningful---and long validated---scale of political preferences. We show how the resulting measures relate to existing approaches and that they can be used to gain more precise knowledge of the media.

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