‘Divided They Blog’ – Political Bias Ideological Amplification on the Blogosphere

Posted: August 20, 2008 in 2004-, Articles
Tags: ,

A blog study made during the 2004 ‘election’ worth noting.

DOWNLOAD FULL PDF

ABSTRACT:

In this paper, we study the linking patterns and discussion topics of political bloggers. Our aim is to measure the degree of interaction between liberal and conservative blogs, and to uncover any differences in the structure of the two communities. Specifically, we analyze the posts of 40 “A-list” blogs over the period of two months preceding the U.S. Presidential Election of 2004, to study how often they referred to one another and to quantify the overlap in the topics they discussed, both within the liberal and conservative communities, and also across communities. We also study a single day snapshot of over 1,000 political blogs. This snapshot captures blogrolls (the list of links to other blogs frequently found in sidebars), and presents a more static picture of a broader blogosphere. Most significantly, we find differences in the behavior of liberal and conservative blogs, with conservative blogs linking to each other more frequently and in a denser pattern.

SNIPPET:

Recently, Welsch [17] studied a single-day snapshot of the network neighborhoods of Atrios, a popular liberal blog, and Instapundit, a popular conservative blog. He found the Instapundit neighborhood to include many more blogs than the Atrios one, and observed no overlap in the URLs cited between the two neighborhoods. The lack of overlap in liberal and conservative interests has previously been observed in purchases of political books on Amazon.com [9]. This brings about the question of whether we are witnessing a cyberbalkanization [13, 15] of the Internet, where the prolif-
eration of specialized online news sources allows people with different political leanings to be exposed only to information in agreement with their previously held views. Yale law professor Jack Balkin provides a counter-argument11 by pointing out that such segregation is unlikely in the blogosphere because bloggers systematically comment on each other, even if only to voice disagreement.

In this paper we address both hypotheses by examining in a systematic way the linking patterns and discussion topics of political bloggers. In doing so, we not only measure the degree of interaction between liberal and conservative blogs, but also uncover differences in the structure of the two communities. Specifically, we analyze the posts of 40 A-list blogs over the period of two months preceding the U.S. Presidential Election of 2004, to study how often they referred to one another and what the overlap was in the things they discussed, both within the liberal and conservative communities, and also across communities. We also study a single day snapshot of over 1,000 political blogs. This snapshot captures blogrolls (the list of links to other blogs frequently found in sidebars), and presents a more static picture of a broader blogosphere.

From both samples we found that liberal and conservative blogs did indeed have different lists of favorite news sources, people, and topics to discuss, although they occasionally overlapped in their discussion of news articles and events. The division between liberals and conservatives was further reflected in the linking pattern between the blogs, with a great majority of the links remaining internal to either liberal or conservative communities. Even more interestingly, we found differences in the behavior of the two communities, with conservative blogs linking to a greater number of blogs and with greater frequency. These differences in linking behavior were not drastic, and we can not speculate how much they correlated, if at all, with the eventual outcome of the election. They were nonetheless interesting, and we believe they show an insightful glimpse into the online political discourse leading up to the election.

SEE ALSO:

*Neuroscience proves that the politically biased are legally insane and medically addicted/diseased!

The Neuropsychology of Pseudo-Skepticism

*Political Delusions

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s