…it's a feature of news in a competitive marketplace, argues former Reason Editor Virginia Postrel in a great new New York Times col.
If bias is a product flaw, why does it not behave like auto repair rates, declining under competitive pressure?
In a recent paper, "The Market for News," two Harvard economists look at that question. "There's plenty of competition" among news sources, Sendhil Mullainathan, one of the authors, said in an interview. But "the more competition there has been in the last 20 years, the more discussion there has been of bias."
The reason, he and his colleague, Andrei Shleifer, argue, is that consumers care about more than accuracy. "We assume that readers prefer to hear or read news that are more consistent with their beliefs," they write. Bias is not a bug but a feature.
Whole thing here (reg. req.)
VP's blog here.