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Trump, Polarization, Partizanship and Social Media Consumption.

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posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 09:15 AM
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I'm putting this in media because really it's a media issue. And absolutely not the mud pit, so I'd please ask commentators to remember that before commenting.


Been reading this interesting report by Oxford University researchers, who have analyzed hundreds of thousands of social media accounts. You can find the full report here:

Oxford University Research Paper


But in essence it finds that backers of President Donald Trump are sharing more “junk” political news – ideologically extreme, conspiratorial, sensationalist and phony information – over Twitter and Facebook than all other groups combined.


Although the “junk” news sites considered in the analysis included those on both the left and right, lead researcher Philip Howard said the findings suggest "that most of the junk news that people share over social media ends up with Trump’s fans, the far right. They’re playing with different facts, and they think they have the inside scoop on conspiracies."

As a result, he said it appears that "a small chunk of the population isn’t able to talk politics or share ideas in a sensible way with the rest of the population."

“That’s a problem for democracy," Howard said. "In an ideal world, everybody would get at least a few of the same news stories, There’d be some shared facts and some shared understanding of the problems” facing the country.


“Trust in news is strikingly divided across ideological lines, and an ecosystem of alternative news is flourishing, fueled by extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news and other forms of junk news.”

The researchers gathered the names of hundreds of thousands of public Facebook and Twitter accounts over an 18-month period and, using a set of criteria defining junk news, winnowed them to a list of “obvious” sites, Howard said. “These are the sites that anybody in their right mind would qualify as extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial.”

“They use swear words in the headlines … or all capital letters. It’s stuff you might call commentary masking as news, if you were being generous.”

Among those on Oxford’s list are Breitbart News and InfoWars, two popular far-right sites that have been especially sympathetic to Trump and his administration.



An entire media ecosystem exists to perpetuate the lies told by Trump and the GOP -- outlets that don't meet the most basic standards of journalism. Fox News, Breitbart, Newsmax, Townhall, and a host of other propaganda sites have made it their mission to distort the truth, ignore reality and feed their audiences with dangerous myths. The net result is a radical government protected by a bubble of insanity maintained by radical media outlets that are only interested in power.

The people who run these organizations know exactly what they are doing and rely on the ignorance of vast swathes of society to keep up the facade. The unconscious masses who give into their fears of "other" and work diligently to spread the falsehoods responsible for maintaining Trump's grip on power.



Now I know on ATS this is not going to be a popular finding, but given this is a conspiracy website I find it amazing that one of the biggest and most obvious conspiracies of our times is getting a free pass amongst conspiracy theory circles. Because here we have actual measurable proof that a gigantic social engineering project is being conducted on us.




posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 09:30 AM
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a reply to: Painterz

Of course, the above information generalizes. Let's assume there is more fake news on the right than on the left. More extreme. The conclusion that the 'right' cannot be communicated with, politically, as a result is disingenuous and frankly negates any credibility in the entire premise.

I, myself, have started a thread based on fake news and had it closed immediately on discovering that fact. Many others have as well.

ATS is an empirical evidence that that's not the case. As communication abounds between the camps.

Therefore, one can only conclude the above is based on....fake news.....



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 09:43 AM
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a reply to: Painterz




That’s a problem for democracy," Howard said. "In an ideal world, everybody would get at least a few of the same news stories, There’d be some shared facts and some shared understanding of the problems” facing the country. 

If it is available, anyone that wants it can get it.

We have seen that Google and others have taken it on themselves to make sure that some things are not available or are less available for consumption.

Wouldn't that be a 'problem for democracy'?
edit on b000000282018-02-11T09:45:05-06:0009America/ChicagoSun, 11 Feb 2018 09:45:05 -0600900000018 by butcherguy because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 09:46 AM
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a reply to: butcherguy

It's difficult when some agencies responsible for public messaging have taken it among themselves to censor information for your own good.




posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:05 AM
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originally posted by: DBCowboy
a reply to: butcherguy

It's difficult when some agencies responsible for public messaging have taken it among themselves to censor information for your their own good.





Fixed it for ya, Cowboy.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:20 AM
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I want to know the political ideology of the people running the ‘test’. Do you think throwing people in jail for giving a plastic straw is extreme? How about banning tackle football? Thinking that there are 29 genders? Thinking genders are not fluid? Liberals think anyone who doesn’t think like them is extreme. It’s a great political tool.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:20 AM
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OP,

Oxford University (or indeed any University) have no lock on the truth. Let's take the classification of 'junk' news. Who says so? They don't actually provide a very good overview or detail on how they determine the classification, only broad classification criteria (page 2). Viewing the list of their junk news sources HERE it proves to be a completely biased starting point - reading their criteria it is very clear that sources such as CNN, MSNBC would absolutely fit those criteria, but they are not on the list - or at the very least the ramblings of the partisan hacks that populate those outlets should be included in the analysis. The site list itself includes sites like Rassmussen, DrudgeReport, Breitbart, Hannity.com etc, yet omits left-wing sources of the same ilk.

This in itself makes the analysis, well, junk. Just a self-fulfilling analysis predicated on ideological bias. Is it any wonder that an analysis of social media, taking these sites shows more activity from the right wing????

It doesn't matter how bias is dressed up - it's still obvious to spot it. Universities are the very last place to look for any form of arbitration on the very serious political divide that exists today.

Let me summarise it for you... Oxford University has classified all major right-wing news outlets as 'junk' and then looked for who is sharing this content on social media and then declared that right-wing accounts share the most 'junk'. That's pathetic and shames a great university.

Let me give you some advice. Until you start debating from a starting point of honesty, you'll get nowhere. The time of shoddy analysis to support a predisposed idea being foisted on people in the hope that it will pass as credible is over.
edit on 11/2/2018 by UKTruth because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:32 AM
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I've read the study, the supplement, and the excel spreadsheet.

Conclusion: junk science masquerading as science.

My child's middle school science projects are riddled with less assumptions.

Are you kidding me? This came from Oxford?



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:36 AM
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originally posted by: loam


Are you kidding me? This came from Oxford?


..and that is the real shame of it. Once great institutions have been ruined by political ideologues.
The people involved in that analysis should be sacked (if they are employed by the university) and if students, they should be expelled. There is no hope for our futures if our top centres of learning are not held to a much higher standard.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:39 AM
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a reply to: UKTruth

So your argument is that you believe that their sources are biased because they do not agree with your own opinions, therefore the study is "junk science?" Let me give you some advice. Until you start debating from a starting point of honesty, you'll get nowhere. The time of shoddy analysis to support a predisposed idea being foisted on people in the hope that it will pass as credible is over.
edit on 11-2-2018 by DJW001 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:41 AM
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originally posted by: DJW001
a reply to: UKTruth

The time of shoddy analysis to support a predisposed idea being foisted on people in the hope that it will pass as credible is over.


You might want to direct that to the fine folks at Oxford University.





posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:41 AM
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a reply to: UKTruth


The people involved in that analysis should be sacked (if they are employed by the university) and if students, they should be expelled. There is no hope for our futures if our top centres of learning are not held to a much higher standard.





posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:44 AM
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originally posted by: DBCowboy

originally posted by: DJW001
a reply to: UKTruth

The time of shoddy analysis to support a predisposed idea being foisted on people in the hope that it will pass as credible is over.


You might want to direct that to the fine folks at Oxford University.



The fact that people continue to support Trump despite his long public history of erratic and illegal behavior suggests that a significant number of people do not access the historical record, and rely on a narrow channel of selective "information."



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:45 AM
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originally posted by: DJW001





I see the people in your photo as no different than Google, Twiiter "shadow censoring" or the fine people who knock down statues because it "offended" them.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:46 AM
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originally posted by: DJW001
a reply to: UKTruth

So your argument is that you believe that their sources are biased because do not agree with your own opinions, therefore the study is "junk science?" Let me give you some advice. Until you start debating from a starting point of honesty, you'll get nowhere. The time of shoddy analysis to support a predisposed idea being foisted on people in the hope that it will pass as credible is over.


The analysis is predicated on the belief that pretty much only right wing sites are junk - so what other results would one expect from a social media analysis of such articles from the site list??

I myself am not drawing a conclusion on who shares the most junk news, rather pointing out the very clear fact that the analysis in the OP has a completely biased starting position, and is therefore junk.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:46 AM
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originally posted by: DJW001

originally posted by: DBCowboy

originally posted by: DJW001
a reply to: UKTruth

The time of shoddy analysis to support a predisposed idea being foisted on people in the hope that it will pass as credible is over.


You might want to direct that to the fine folks at Oxford University.



The fact that people continue to support Trump despite his long public history of erratic and illegal behavior suggests that a significant number of people do not access the historical record, and rely on a narrow channel of selective "information."



Trump lowered my taxes.

He wants to strengthen our borders.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:48 AM
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a reply to: UKTruth


The analysis is predicated on the belief that pretty much only right wing sites are junk - so what other results would one expect from a social media analysis of such articles from the site list??


Why do you believe that the analysis does not include objective and left of center sites?



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:50 AM
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a reply to: DBCowboy


Trump lowered my taxes.

Congress lowered your taxes. They raised mine.


He wants to strengthen our borders.


He wants to build a wall in the middle of the Rio Grande and make Mexico pay for it. Does that sound rational?



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:50 AM
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a reply to: DBCowboy


Trump lowered my taxes.

Congress lowered your taxes. They raised mine.


He wants to strengthen our borders.


He wants to build a wall in the middle of the Rio Grande and make Mexico pay for it. Does that sound rational?



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 10:51 AM
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originally posted by: DJW001
a reply to: UKTruth


The analysis is predicated on the belief that pretty much only right wing sites are junk - so what other results would one expect from a social media analysis of such articles from the site list??


Why do you believe that the analysis does not include objective and left of center sites?


Because I read the list of sites included.




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