Atrios makes an interesting observation about the decline in newspaper sales and political trend at major metropolitan dailies:
One of the never-discussed dirty little secrets of the newspaper industry is that many editorial pages in newspapers in major cities lean heavily right, especially relative to their potential local audience, and not just because of their heavy reliance on syndicated wingnuttery. With all the fretting about the death of the newspaper, perhaps it should occur to people that maybe people are tired of reading right wing horseshit.
I remember way back when, PIPA released a study (pdf) which looked at the relationship between someone’s primary source of news and the extent to which they believe in three statements–three false statements:
1) Evidence of links between Iraq and al-Qaeda have been found.
2) Weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.
3) World public opinion favored the US going to war with Iraq.
And here’s how different consumers fall out:
Certain newspapers have very conservative readerships, either due to region or the particular paper (e.g., The Wall Street Journal). Once you factor out those papers, newspaper readers hold views that would make them far less likely to support the Iraq war, and probably more likely to turn against it even if they initially supported the war. So why were (and are) newspapers so hawkish compared to their readers? Seems like a stupid business model to me.