For years, I’ve been both troubled and intrigued by political news bias. In 2011, I began to wonder whether bias could be measured. I scoured the internet, looking for a method-or-model to quantitatively dimensioning bias. I could find none, so I tried to developed my own, using cable news transcripts and a customized sentiment analysis program. While it was an interesting experiment (https://mediatemetrics.wordpress.com), I eventually learned that conventional text analysis didn’t like half sentences —- which most cable “news” programs are chock full of, since participants tend to talk over one another constantly — so I abandoned the project in favor of gainful employment and spousal contentment.
But since that time, the political news environment has gotten significantly more intense. Thanks largely to social media, and the techniques employed there and on cable news networks, the U.S. population has become more politically polarized than I could ever imagine.
I used to get angry about it. Truth be told, sometimes I still do. But as I get older (and presumably wiser), I’m more interested in understanding this polarization environment and, perhaps, learning how to counteract it.
Come along with me on this journey.