Media Matters has a report into ideological balance among syndicated columnists which shows that “whether examining only the top columnists or the entire group, large papers or small, the data presented in this report make clear that conservative syndicated columnists enjoy a clear advantage over their progressive counterparts.”
I would be fascinated to see a newspaper editor explain why he thinks this is. One possible answer, of course, is that readers love rightwingers. Maybe you gain a ton of subscribers, at the margin, by carrying Charles Krauthammer or John Podhoretz in your newspaper. Maybe that’s what the editors of newspapers think. Maybe they even have some market research to back that conclusion up. Alternatively — and in my view more plausibly — maybe opinion columns have little measurable economic value (does anyone really believe Washington Post circulation would change in either direction if they sacked Krauthammer and hired Rosa Brooks away from the LA Times?) and basically exist to put forward ideas that newspaper owners find congenial.