This paper quantitatively assesses media influence on civil case adjudication in US state courts. It shows that media influence substantially mitigates disparity in damage awards across political orientation of districts. That is, in areas with frequent newspaper coverage of courts, there is little difference in damage awards between conservative and liberal districts. In contrast, in areas with little newspaper coverage, liberal districts tend to grant substantially larger damage awards than do conservative ones. This result suggests that the presence of active media coverage may enhance consistency in the civil justice system.
Claire Lim, Media Influence on Courts: Evidence from Civil Case Adjudication. American Law and Economics Review (2015), doi: 10.1093/aler/ahv005. First published online: March 26, 2015.