8. Who's speaking?: Evidentiality in US newspapers during the 2004 presidential campaign

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We examine a corpus of texts drawn from 11 US newspapers and related to the 2004 US presidential election, focusing on <i>hearsay evidentiality</i>, the reporting of what one has heard from others. Motivated by the general question of whether bias exists in news reporting, we analyze the sources to whom statements in the corpus are attributed, in order to determine <i>who </i>gets to speak through the press, and whether there is balance between the two sides in this election. We also examine the <i>ways </i>in which speech is reported, asking questions about the use of direct vs. indirect speech, the explicitness of source identification, and the effects that the choice of <i>reporting word </i>can have on the portrayal of a source. Although we find slight evidence of an apparent preference for one candidate or the other in certain papers, overall we find no statistically significant differences that could be construed as bias.


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