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Inequality and Bias in the Demand for and Supply of News


Social Science Quarterly

Published online on


--- - |2+ Objectives We examine how the supply and demand for news stories that reference an individualistic concept change in response to changes in inequality and the prevailing ideology. Methods We use Google Trends data to construct an index of demand for individualistic news and a database of newspaper articles to construct an index of supply. We estimate fixed effects models on state and DMA‐level data from 1993 to 2017. Results Demand for individualistic news is higher in more conservative areas and it is even stronger when inequality rises. Supply of individualistic news is higher when the share of income to the top 1 percent is higher. The supply effect is strongest in more liberal areas. Conclusion These results provide evidence of both confirmation bias influencing demand and media capture influencing supply. Confirmation bias and media capture are distinct phenomenon, but provide reinforcing explanations for why consumption of individualistic news increases with inequality. - 'Social Science Quarterly, EarlyView. '