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Working Papers


    Media Access, Bias and Public Opinion

Abstract: I develop an electoral competition model in which an incumbent seeks to influence public opinion by strategically controlling the media's access to information. I show that the incumbent's optimal access strategy balances her demand for positive coverage with the public's demand for credible coverage. The media's access increases with the competence of politicians over issues under public focus. Controlling media's access can be instrumental in influencing public opinion, especially in the hands of popular incumbents. Persistence of key election issues, however, decreases the effectiveness of media access control by incumbents.