Update 2

Hi everyone! Hard at work crunching the numbers and exploring platforms for the first draft of the Media Bias Map, which is why the blog is on a bit of a hiatus. But I wanted to update some of the terminology in the meantime.

When I initially started, I published a post detailing my initial idea for a ratings system. To give a quick recap, the idea was to have two axes — a flawed but familiar model, accessible at a glance — that ran on a standard progressive/conservative axis and a (only slightly) less standard collectivist/individualist axis.

I quickly realized that this was a bad idea.

Since then, I reframed my y-axis to a much less traditional populist/elitist axis. But I realized that, while I’ve talked about why I did so, I never updated how that rating would look in action. So I thought now would be an excellent time to revisit the initial scale I looked at with the new information in hand.

down/up axis focusing on populism and elitism

left/right axis focusing on progressivism and conservatism

-3: Speaking to organized populist movements, such as unions or militias.

-3: Grounded in revolutionary progressive ideas, such as abolition of systems of oppression.

-2: Speaking to less organized populist uprisings and protesters.

-2: Grounded in moderate progressive ideas, such as defunding or decriminalizing.

-1: Speaking to individuals without power or affiliation, such as person-on-the-street interviews.

-1: Grounded in basic progressive ideas, such as means-tested reform of systems of oppression that attempt to begin to move towards greater equality.

0: Makes no real ideological statements or such mixed statements as to be incoherent

0: Makes no real ideological statements or such mixed statements as to be incoherent

1: Speaking to elites with some degree of power, such as professors, journalists, and small business owners.

1: Grounded in basic conservative ideas, such as the preservation of current hierarchies.

2: Speaking to elites with considerable power, such as government officials or think tanks.

2: Grounded in moderate conservative ideas, such as nationalism or traditionalism.

3: Speaking to elites with unaccountable power, such as international corporations.

3: Grounded in revolutionary conservative ideas, such as fascism or neoreaction.

As I’ve mentioned before, I found the old system to be lacking in objectivity. Was someone promoting socialist ideas or communist ones? Was this article liberal or neoliberal? A lot of it comes down to gut reaction, and, if I’m being honest, it felt deeply fake.

I want, as much as possible, for this chart to be about ideology rather than politics, for the measurements I take to be relevant to peoples’ lives and experiences even if they aren’t diehard political junkies. What are the ideals of these media outlets? Whose voices matter? These are questions that I find more interesting, and easier to measure.

So that’s it for this update! Expect the blog to be relatively silent while I work on getting the map itself in semi-presentable shape.


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