Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Someone Should Be Doing a Survey on Media-Reader Correlations

Conventional wisdom has it that Sankei Shimbun reports from a neoliberal xenophobe’s perspective while its Asahi counterpart represents the antibusiness, appeasement end of the political spectrum, and Yomiuri and Mainichi lie somewhere in between. It is also widely assumed that there is some correlation between their contents and the mindset of their respective readers, a correlation that I’ve speculated before to be a major cause of the non-random correlation between the results of the random-digit dialing (RDD) opinion polls that major media outlets regularly conduct and the opinions of the media outlets themselves. But how strong is the correlation? And how are the media and their consumers connected by causal relationships? Are we what read, or do we read what we are? I have my own guesses, but I’d be surprised if there weren’t quantitative academic studies on this subject, at least in Japanese. In the unlikely event that there isn’t, there’s a mother lode waiting here for political science PhD candidates with the research money to carry out a well-designed RDD survey.

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