Thomas on the Political Coverage Index and Its Application to Media Capture

November 12, 2019

To investigate whether the media fulfill their role as the fourth estate, i.e. providing another level of control for government, or whether there is evidence of media capture, first, CMDS Fellow Tobias Thomas and his co-authors, Ralf Dewenter and Uwe Dulleck introduce the Political Coverage Index (PCI), a new measure of the relative positioning of media within the political spectrum.

In contrast to existing measures of political positioning (e.g., language similarities, explicit endorsements, mentions of ideological references), they utilize the tonality of articles and newscasts on political parties and politicians. Then, they apply the PCI to 35 opinion-leading media in Germany, on the basis of more than 10 million news items on political parties and politicians between 1998 and 2012.

Finally, they use the PCI to investigate whether the media fulfil their fourth estate role. The results have been presented in the article Does the 4th estate deliver? The Political Coverage Index and its application to media capture, published by Constitutional Political Economy.