Sign In

Analyzing Political Discourse Through Knowledge Graph Representation of News Sources

Core Concepts
The core message of this article is that fundamental differences in the coverage of political topics between "alt-right" and "liberal" news sources, as represented through knowledge graphs, can contribute to the formation of echo chambers, even in the absence of social media-driven polarization.
The article presents an analysis of knowledge graphs constructed from news articles published on the "alt-right" Breitbart News (BN) and the "liberal" New York Times (NYT) websites over an 11.5-year period. The key insights are: Both news sources exhibit relatively neutral and non-polarizing coverage on average, with BN being slightly more subjective than NYT. The coverage of topics and entities differs significantly between the two sources, with BN focusing more on domestic US political figures and NYT covering more international affairs. Despite the overall similarity in tone, the authors identify a set of polarizing entities and relationships that are covered with contrasting sentiment and subjectivity by the two news sources. These differences in the portrayal of certain key issues could contribute to the formation of echo chambers, even in the absence of social media-driven polarization. The authors suggest that echo-chamber formation may be driven more by individual information consumption patterns and core beliefs, rather than solely by the topology of social networks. The article concludes by acknowledging the limitations of the study, such as the exclusion of data beyond 2019, and emphasizes the need for transparent research in this domain to encourage further exploration.
The average path length in the knowledge graphs is 3.76 for BN and 3.52 for NYT. The average polarity is 0.00 for BN and -0.00 for NYT, indicating a relatively neutral tone in both sources. The average subjectivity is 0.12 for BN and 0.08 for NYT, suggesting a slightly more subjective coverage in BN.
"Though on macro-level both outlets prefer to stick to neutral coverage and refrain from subjectivity when it comes to certain entities and topics they provide different evaluations and tend to be more subjective in these cases." "The combination of these two factors is extremely unfortunate since it facilitates social conflict. Indeed, every reader is perfectly convinced that her news source is relevant, objective, and non-biased. This also happens to be true in the vast majority of cases. Yet on a handful of key issues, the media takes a more polarizing and subjective position."

Key Insights Distilled From

by Tinatin Osmo... at 04-05-2024
Knowledge Graph Representation for Political Information Sources

Deeper Inquiries

How do the findings of this study compare to the coverage and representation of political topics in other types of media, such as social media platforms or broadcast news?

The findings of this study shed light on the differences in news coverage and representation between "alt-right" and "liberal" news sources, specifically Breitbart News and the New York Times. While these two sources exhibit structural similarities in terms of attempting to maintain a neutral and non-polarizing tone overall, they do show significant disparities in the coverage of certain entities and topics. This nuanced approach to news representation contrasts with the common assumption of stark differences between right and left-leaning media outlets. When compared to social media platforms or broadcast news, the study's findings suggest that the formation of echo chambers may not solely be a result of the collective topology of social networks but could also be influenced by individual information consumption patterns. Social media platforms, with their algorithmic curation and personalized content delivery, may exacerbate echo chambers by reinforcing existing beliefs and preferences. Broadcast news, on the other hand, may have a broader reach but could still exhibit biases in coverage that contribute to polarization.

What are the potential long-term societal implications of the observed differences in news coverage, and how can they be addressed to mitigate the formation of echo chambers?

The observed differences in news coverage, as highlighted in the study, can have significant long-term societal implications. Echo chambers, where individuals are exposed to information that aligns with their existing beliefs, can lead to polarization, reduced exposure to diverse perspectives, and a lack of critical thinking. This can further deepen societal divisions, hinder constructive dialogue, and impede the formation of informed opinions. To mitigate the formation of echo chambers, it is crucial to promote media literacy, critical thinking skills, and diverse sources of information consumption. Encouraging individuals to seek out multiple perspectives, fact-check information, and engage in civil discourse can help counter the effects of echo chambers. Additionally, media organizations should strive for balanced and objective reporting, transparency in sourcing, and editorial independence to provide a more comprehensive view of complex issues.

Given the limitations of the study, how might the analysis be expanded or refined to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between news representation and political discourse?

To enhance the analysis and provide a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between news representation and political discourse, several refinements and expansions could be considered: Inclusion of Recent Data: Updating the study with more recent data beyond 2019 to capture evolving trends in news coverage and political discourse. Comparison with Additional Media Sources: Including a broader range of media sources beyond Breitbart News and the New York Times to capture a more diverse spectrum of political viewpoints. Incorporation of Audience Analysis: Examining the audience demographics, behaviors, and reactions to news coverage to understand how news representation influences individual perceptions and beliefs. Qualitative Analysis: Supplementing the quantitative analysis with qualitative methods such as interviews or focus groups to delve deeper into the impact of news representation on political attitudes. Cross-Platform Analysis: Extending the analysis to include social media platforms, broadcast news, and alternative media sources to compare how news representation varies across different mediums. By incorporating these refinements and expansions, the analysis can offer a more nuanced and holistic understanding of how news representation shapes political discourse and societal dynamics.