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A Major New Study Shows That Political Polarization Is Mainly A Right-Wing Phenomenon

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A major new study of social-media sharing patterns shows that political polarization is more common among conservatives than liberals — and that the exaggerations and falsehoods emanating from right-wing media outlets such as Breitbart News have infected mainstream discourse.

 

  http://news.wgbh.org/2017/03/15/politics-government/major-new-study-shows-political-polarization-mainly-right-wing

Edited by Steeleballz

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Harvard Study

 

Asymmetric vulnerabilities: The right and left were subject to media manipulation in different ways.

 

The more insulated right-wing media ecosystem was susceptible to sustained network propaganda and disinformation, particularly misleading negative claims about Hillary Clinton. Traditional media accountability mechanisms—for example, fact-checking sites, media watchdog groups, and cross-media criticism—appear to have wielded little influence on the insular conservative media sphere. Claims aimed for “internal” consumption within the right-wing media ecosystem were more extreme, less internally coherent, and appealed more to the “paranoid style” of American politics than claims intended to affect mainstream media reporting.

 

The institutional commitment to impartiality of media sources at the core of attention on the left meant that hyperpartisan, unreliable sources on the left did not receive the same amplification that equivalent sites on the right did.

 

  https://cyber.harvard.edu/publications/2017/08/mediacloud

 

    

Edited by Steeleballz

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From the CJR report.

 

While concerns about political and media polarization online are longstanding, our study suggests that polarization was asymmetric. Pro-Clinton audiences were highly attentive to traditional media outlets, which continued to be the most prominent outlets across the public sphere, alongside more left-oriented online sites. But pro-Trump audiences paid the majority of their attention to polarized outlets that have developed recently, many of them only since the 2008 election season.

 

https://www.cjr.org/analysis/breitbart-media-trump-harvard-study.php

 

You have to ask yourself why the Pro-Clinton crowd paid attention to what this report describes as the "traditional" media outlets?  Maybe it had something to do with how friendly they were toward Hillary Clinton?  I assume CNN would be grouped into this "traditional" category, weren't they feeding the Hillary camp debate information?   I think the report is probably correct that the far Right groups paid more attention to the likes of Brietbart et. al., but it really doesn't delve into the reasons why.  My hypothesis is because of a real or perceived friendliness between the "traditional" mainstream media outlets and the Left Wing political establishment.


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12 minutes ago, Bill & Katya said:

From the CJR report.

 

While concerns about political and media polarization online are longstanding, our study suggests that polarization was asymmetric. Pro-Clinton audiences were highly attentive to traditional media outlets, which continued to be the most prominent outlets across the public sphere, alongside more left-oriented online sites. But pro-Trump audiences paid the majority of their attention to polarized outlets that have developed recently, many of them only since the 2008 election season.

 

https://www.cjr.org/analysis/breitbart-media-trump-harvard-study.php

 

You have to ask yourself why the Pro-Clinton crowd paid attention to what this report describes as the "traditional" media outlets?  Maybe it had something to do with how friendly they were toward Hillary Clinton?  I assume CNN would be grouped into this "traditional" category, weren't they feeding the Hillary camp debate information?   I think the report is probably correct that the far Right groups paid more attention to the likes of Brietbart et. al., but it really doesn't delve into the reasons why.  My hypothesis is because of a real or perceived friendliness between the "traditional" mainstream media outlets and the Left Wing political establishment.

 

    Fair point, but regardless of the reason, the end result was the right gravitating to (per the studies), more extreme, less coherent, hyper partisan, unreliable sources of media. 

 

    The key point from the studies that I see is "the left" seems to have used both centrist and left sources, while "the right" seems to be using mostly right. The "why" is a good question.


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1 hour ago, Steeleballz said:

Harvard Study

 

Asymmetric vulnerabilities: The right and left were subject to media manipulation in different ways.

 

The more insulated right-wing media ecosystem was susceptible to sustained network propaganda and disinformation, particularly misleading negative claims about Hillary Clinton. Traditional media accountability mechanisms—for example, fact-checking sites, media watchdog groups, and cross-media criticism—appear to have wielded little influence on the insular conservative media sphere. Claims aimed for “internal” consumption within the right-wing media ecosystem were more extreme, less internally coherent, and appealed more to the “paranoid style” of American politics than claims intended to affect mainstream media reporting.

 

The institutional commitment to impartiality of media sources at the core of attention on the left meant that hyperpartisan, unreliable sources on the left did not receive the same amplification that equivalent sites on the right did.

 

  https://cyber.harvard.edu/publications/2017/08/mediacloud

 

    

Interesting.

I've noticed several people here say they don't read newspapers/watch TV but use FB.

http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-knows-what-you-read-in-the-news-2014-4

 

Also Twitter has a big influence with journalists and bloggers writing their opinions, followed by a more detailed article later.

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This was funny. All of Eric's supporters were replying, things like "yeah, ban fake news CNN" etc. 

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/348804-eric-trump-predicts-cnn-wont-cover-trump-harvey-donation-hours

 

then there are alt-right hacks like Cernovich and Spencer tweeting complete lies, and it's amazing how many people don't question the validity of the statements posted, and agree with anything. 

 

Frightening how many people out there don't have basic reading comprehension skills. Lots of angry peeps out there.

:blink:

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2 minutes ago, Jacque67 said:

This was funny. All of Eric's supporters were replying, things like "yeah, ban fake news CNN" etc. 

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/348804-eric-trump-predicts-cnn-wont-cover-trump-harvey-donation-hours

 

then there are alt-right hacks like Cernovich and Spencer tweeting complete lies, and it's amazing how many people don't question the validity of the statements posted, and agree with anything. 

 

Frightening how many people out there don't have basic reading comprehension skills. Lots of angry peeps out there.

:blink:

 

    I think that's part of it. The audience drives the media. 


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9 minutes ago, Steeleballz said:

 

    I think that's part of it. The audience drives the media. 

This is interesting:

 

Social media has an important role in shaping perceptions of current events, as well as influencing mainstream news coverage of those events. Platforms like Twitter provide real-time access to events going on around the world, allowing anyone to get a front-row seat for breaking news. But as much as it has opened up new channels of information, social media has also opened up new avenues for manipulating perceptions of reality. Misinformation and disinformation often spread faster than the truth, and by the time the narrative is corrected, social media has already moved on to the next “big thing.”

The narrative surrounding last weekend’s protests in Berkeley took shape on social media and was picked up, at least in part, by mainstream news outlets. The result was a skewed presentation of events that was almost entirely devoid of the context in which they took place. Even more troubling: that narrative was influenced by pro-Russian social media networks, including state-sponsored propaganda outlets, botnets, cyborgs, and individual users.

In the case study below, I describe how the narrative surrounding Berkeley was picked up and shaped by Russian-linked influence networks, which saw a chance to drive a wedge in American society and ran with it. Next, I look at the individual accounts and users that were identified as top influencers on Twitter, and explore what they were posting, how they worked together to craft a narrative, and the methods they used to amplify their message. Finally, I look at how news coverage of the events in Berkeley was shaped by the skewed narrative that emerged on social media.

This is just a single case study in a larger story, but it serves as an important reminder that Russia is still exploiting social media to harm U.S. interests — and that plenty of Americans are willing to join in on the effort.

The Russian Connection

Russian-linked influence networks and propaganda arms quickly took interest in the Berkeley protests last weekend. On Sunday afternoon, the top story on the front page of Russian propaganda outlet RT was about the events in Berkeley. (Note that this was the main landing page — not the “America” section).

 
1*7g0kuU2o8mwpq5ISO8ltzg.png
A screenshot from Sunday, Aug. 27 shows that the protests in Berkeley were featured as the top story on the front page of Russian propaganda outlet RT.

RT tweeted stories about the protests throughout the day Sunday (and some on Saturday), posting dramatic images and using trending hashtags to maximize their reach. Many of these tweets were retweeted by the semi-automated pro-Kremlin account @TeamTrumpRussia (aka Дepлorabлe Рuссian), which spent much of the day amplifying the hashtags #Berkeley and #Antifa.

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https://medium.com/@RVAwonk/how-russian-alt-right-twitter-accounts-worked-together-to-skew-the-narrative-about-berkeley-f03a3d04ac5d

 

after tweeting the link to this article, alt-righter MikeMeatSnacks replied:

 

"Pretty good, right, Caroline? We can't be stopped."

 

tell ya, lots of loonies in the alt-right. Some are even trying to call themselves alt-center now, and after advocating violence several months ago, are now pretending to be peaceful people. Yeah, sure. Their followers tend to have short memories.:jest:

 

As mango said, 50 percent performance art.

Edited by Jacque67

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3 minutes ago, Jacque67 said:

This is interesting:

 

Social media has an important role in shaping perceptions of current events, as well as influencing mainstream news coverage of those events. Platforms like Twitter provide real-time access to events going on around the world, allowing anyone to get a front-row seat for breaking news. But as much as it has opened up new channels of information, social media has also opened up new avenues for manipulating perceptions of reality. Misinformation and disinformation often spread faster than the truth, and by the time the narrative is corrected, social media has already moved on to the next “big thing.”

The narrative surrounding last weekend’s protests in Berkeley took shape on social media and was picked up, at least in part, by mainstream news outlets. The result was a skewed presentation of events that was almost entirely devoid of the context in which they took place. Even more troubling: that narrative was influenced by pro-Russian social media networks, including state-sponsored propaganda outlets, botnets, cyborgs, and individual users.

In the case study below, I describe how the narrative surrounding Berkeley was picked up and shaped by Russian-linked influence networks, which saw a chance to drive a wedge in American society and ran with it. Next, I look at the individual accounts and users that were identified as top influencers on Twitter, and explore what they were posting, how they worked together to craft a narrative, and the methods they used to amplify their message. Finally, I look at how news coverage of the events in Berkeley was shaped by the skewed narrative that emerged on social media.

This is just a single case study in a larger story, but it serves as an important reminder that Russia is still exploiting social media to harm U.S. interests — and that plenty of Americans are willing to join in on the effort.

The Russian Connection

Russian-linked influence networks and propaganda arms quickly took interest in the Berkeley protests last weekend. On Sunday afternoon, the top story on the front page of Russian propaganda outlet RT was about the events in Berkeley. (Note that this was the main landing page — not the “America” section).

 
1*7g0kuU2o8mwpq5ISO8ltzg.png

A screenshot from Sunday, Aug. 27 shows that the protests in Berkeley were featured as the top story on the front page of Russian propaganda outlet RT.

RT tweeted stories about the protests throughout the day Sunday (and some on Saturday), posting dramatic images and using trending hashtags to maximize their reach. Many of these tweets were retweeted by the semi-automated pro-Kremlin account @TeamTrumpRussia (aka Дepлorabлe Рuссian), which spent much of the day amplifying the hashtags #Berkeley and #Antifa.

 

    I think RT.com often has American or European articles on the main page of their English language site. The Russian language site has mostly Russian related news. I'm not sure how many Russians actually use RT.com as a news source though. 


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7 minutes ago, Steeleballz said:

  

 

    I think RT.com often has American or European articles on the main page of their English language site. The Russian language site has mostly Russian related news. I'm not sure how many Russians actually use RT.com as a news source though. 

True, but interesting what they focus on, also what their embassies tweet. The stuff about the alt-right is in the rest of the article, which I can't paste per TOS. Very interesting, as is meathead snacks reaction.

Edited by Jacque67

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8 minutes ago, Jacque67 said:

https://medium.com/@RVAwonk/how-russian-alt-right-twitter-accounts-worked-together-to-skew-the-narrative-about-berkeley-f03a3d04ac5d

 

after tweeting the link to this article, alt-righter MikeMeatSnacks replied:

 

"Pretty good, right, Caroline? We can't be stopped."

 

tell ya, lots of loonies in the alt-right. Some are even trying to call themselves alt-center now, and after advocating violence several months ago, are now pretending to be peaceful people. Yeah, sure. Their followers tend to have short memories.:jest:

 

As mango said, 50 percent performance art.

Yep, the loonies are all one sided.  No a single looney in the MDL or alt-left if you prefer.

 

Personally, I do not use social media to get news.  I think the only news source I follow in FB is Independent Journal Review, and I don't use Twitter due to the childish nature of the platform.  I like to read from all sides, but I tend to stay away from MSM sources due to their predictability and lack of journalistic ethics.  There are a lot of good sites out there such as Circa, The Nation, even HuffPo and DailyCaller.  I especially love reading some of the comments sections.  If you think only the general right wing population is nuts, you should read the comments in HuffPo.

 

Still, the study does not really address why the "traditional" outlets are losing out, or why they are actually being forced to cover stories from the other side.


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15 minutes ago, Bill & Katya said:

Yep, the loonies are all one sided.  No a single looney in the MDL or alt-left if you prefer.

 

Personally, I do not use social media to get news.  I think the only news source I follow in FB is Independent Journal Review, and I don't use Twitter due to the childish nature of the platform.  I like to read from all sides, but I tend to stay away from MSM sources due to their predictability and lack of journalistic ethics.  There are a lot of good sites out there such as Circa, The Nation, even HuffPo and DailyCaller.  I especially love reading some of the comments sections.  If you think only the general right wing population is nuts, you should read the comments in HuffPo.

 

Still, the study does not really address why the "traditional" outlets are losing out, or why they are actually being forced to cover stories from the other side.

Ha! I did not say there were not loonies on both sides. Nice distraction, and if you think the DailyCaller and Circa are great, good for you! Also, are you a Twitter denier? Oh, well, back in the day, some probably said the Internet was a lot of rubbish.

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