October 10, 2008

Visualizing political bias.

An extension that color-codes the blogs at Memeorandum.

Memeorandum is my favorite place to start when looking for political stories to blog about. It's a (somewhat lazy) way to see what everybody's talking about at the moment. With this extension you can see... well, what exactly are you seeing?
The colors don’t necessarily represent each blogger’s personal views or biases. It’s a reflection of their linking activity. The algorithm looks at the stories that blogger’s linked to before, relative to all other bloggers, and groups them accordingly. People that link to things that only conservatives find interesting will be classified as bright red, even if they are personally moderate or liberal, and vice-versa. The algorithm can't read minds, so don't be offended if you feel misrepresented. It's only looking at the data.
The Moderate Voice notes its dark blue identification. And I come out bright red. [CORRECTION: I'm merely pink. I MEAN: I'm at the mid-level of redness.] So, what to do with this information? Maybe I'll try, when I go to Memeorandum, to pick more "blue" stories...


Simon said...

I don't know why anyone who reads the so-called Moderate Voice and who isn't to the left of the average Kossack would be surprised to see it coded deep blue. They gave up any pretense to being in the middle a looooong time ago.

wurly said...
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ElcubanitoKC said...

I'm orange

1jpb said...


I've always done this sort of breakdown in my mind as I look at that site.

It's interesting to see the posts that get a lot of attention from both sides of the political spectrum.

On a separate topic. Have folks noticed that the left sites are posting a lot of information about Ayers? I don't think your attacks are working when the opposition is working to disseminate them for you. For example, TPM is pushing the McCain conference call where they decided to accuse Michelle of having a connection.

And, what's this about? How could the McCain campaign do this? This piece perfectly distills why folks should not to vote for McCain. Everything is there, even actual smoke machines.

Smoke Machines!

The BHO folks couldn't script it this well in their wildest dreams.

Trooper York said...

If Mort were awake he would say that if you weren't black than you are a racist.

Methadras said...
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Methadras said...

If Michael were here he would try to claim you are a homophobe that is looking for gay footprints inside and alongside of tracks of gay dinosaurs that are trying to be converted back to straight dinosaurs by the gay footprints of which you are a homophobe too.

Then he would make completely wild and unsubstantiated claims from talking points he gleaned from AlphaLiberal by they set up a play date and exchange information as if they were super spies trying not to get caught by right-wing Palin lovers. Then after being lambasted as being a one-shot, high-chair sitting political troglodyte, he would cry, have internet seizures and wet himself.

vbspurs said...

Memeorandum is a great source for raw news, so I agree there.

However, I am a duffer when it comes to these kinds of things. I've installed Greasemonkey, but now what?

Also, I agree with Paul Smith, a commenter at Waxy.org:

Memeorandum is the first site I check every day. Your script makes it better. It's interesting to see the linking bias of the mainstream (i.e., not primarily blogger) sources. Also, my eyes goes right for the stories with a mix of blue and red.

And how awesome would it be to be able to do this with Google News?


Daddio said...

www.johnmccain.com is light blue. That about sums it up for us conservatives.

blake said...

Well, if I understand it correctly, it uses an amazon.com web service to get the scores that it uses to color the blog.

I don't see why you couldn't use it for Google news, except that the code actually lists the blogs out by name.

I don't know the web service itself and I can see there would be challenges with the way certain blogs are set up--and then there's the whole question of where the scores are coming from and how valid is that?--but it'd be far from impossible to adapt this to all your browsing.

Joshua said...

No, it uses a system we wrote to score the blogs. The data is kept at Google. There's nothing at Amazon.

The scores have to do with how the blogs link to other blogs. So sites that don't do that (ie, johnmccain.com) are going to be scored improperly.


blake said...

There's nothing at Amazon? But in the GM_xmlhttpRequest call you use 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/jdata01/mz.json' for the URL.

mz.json appears to be the output of your analyzer (stuffed into a code template).

So, they're hosting it but not creating it, big difference.

Methadras said...

Daddio said...

www.johnmccain.com is light blue. That about sums it up for us conservatives.

How's this for visualizing political bias. I'm sitting here typing on a blog while I watch the John McCain/Sarah Palin ticket go up in flames. I don't think I have a name for the color I'm seeing about that right now.