CP Workshop – Arturas Rozenas, New York University
DateApril 10, 2017
Time12:30pm to 2:00pm
6275 Bunche Hall (History Conference Room)
Abstract:It is commonly believed that autocratic governments censor negative news and amplify positive news. We argue that such simplistic fact-censoring may have only a limited value when it comes to economic news, because citizens can easily benchmark the official news against their own private perceptions. Instead of censoring facts about the domestic economy, the government can preserve its good reputation in face an economic calamity by `bundling’ news in a way that assigns the responsibility for bad events to exogenous causes and positive events to the efforts of the government. Using a large corpus of daily news reports from three national television channels in Russia from 2000 to 2016, we identify two empirical patterns that are consistent with this theoretical insight: First, negative and positive economic events are reported at very similar rates on Russian state-owned television indicating no evidence of fact-censoring. Second, negative news reports are more likely to implicate external factors, especially global economic processes and Western governments, but when the news are positive they are more likely to implicate the domestic government, especially president Putin.
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