Existing literature identifies nonofficial media as a tool for rulers to gather information from below. We argue that such media also help identify threats among elites. Motivated by profit, partially free media tend to cover politicians who challenge implicit norms of the regime. These political elites are perceived as threats to the power-sharing status quo, which leads peers to sanction them. We test this argument with evidence from the Chinese Communist Party's intraparty elections of alternate Central Committee members in 2012 and 2007. With Bayesian rank likelihood models, we find that candidates who appeared more frequently in various partially free media received fewer votes from the Party Congress delegates, and this pattern is robust after accounting for a series of alternative explanations. Detailed case studies also show that low-ranked candidates have more partially free media coverage because they broke party norms.
|Publication status||Published - 2019|