Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Confirmation Bias and Newspaper Endorsements

We’ve been talking a lot lately about confirmation bias. It turns out that newspaper endorsements are more influential when they are unexpected.

The degree of this influence, however, depends upon the credibility of the endorsement. In this way, endorsements for the Democratic candidate from left-leaning newspapers are less influential than are endorsements from neutral or right-leaning newspapers…

Via the Economist Free Exchange blog, after the newspaper credibly endorsed Obama.

Previously on confirmation bias: “Things only an astrologist could believe,” “No evidence the data was misused,” and “More on confirmation bias.”

2 comments on "Confirmation Bias and Newspaper Endorsements"

  • Chris says:

    Obama worked this angle well. He trumpeted endorsements by the likes of Warren Buffett and Colin Powell, for example. Somehow, it felt alot better than Democrats for Nixon :^).
    Personally, I was more influenced by the Chicago Trib endorsing him (and doing so quite glowingly). This is a Republican paper through and through, and hadn’t endorsed a Dem in something like 161 years. Yes, he’s a local, but still. I think the dam began to crack when months ago he sat down with their ed board and talked about the Rezco thing at exhaustive length — showing himself to be intelligent, forthcoming, and honest. These are traits that are not found frequently enough in Chicago pols.

  • rob sama says:

    I don’t think there’s anything surprising about this. It’s why so many left-leaning callers to conservative talk radio claim to be life-long Republicans who are undergoing a change of heart.

Comments are closed.