The alignment of political media (updated)

Several months ago I put together a chart trying to estimate where media institutions lie on the political spectrum and reasonability spectrum. As a refresher:

  • The Y axis is has publications that are more reasonable/restrained up top and bombastic/insane lower.
  • The X axis is left-right.

I added The Daily Signal, New York Post, Spiked, IJ Review, Mic, Upworthy, New York Magazine, Crisis Magazine,The New Inquiry, The New Criterion, The Atlantic, and blogs, The Future Primaeval, Social Matter and Freddie DeBoer.

political grid new

I adjusted the position of others. Breitbart gained some reasonability points for being one of the few media outlets to cover gamergate in an honest fashion. The New Republic got pushed down due to its attempted transformation to a Salon-like click model and voice, causing an exodus of respectable staff.

Am I missing anything? Anything out of place? Leave a comment or tweet at @robert_mariani. Even blogs will be considered.

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113 comments

  1. Confused about the Ars Technica ranking on the bombastic side of the chart. Comparing them directly to Breitbart, and worse than HuffPo, is ridiculous. for that matter, calling HuffPo noticeably worse than breitbart is questionable, but at least they’re in the same ballpark. Ars certainly has an left-leaning editorial voice – that part seems about right.

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  2. Can you add the coverage and/or analysis of the Standing Rock indians standoff against the militarized police who are protecting the DAPL as an indicator? I have watched the issue for months now and would like to see how the news organizations that covered it would land on the chart. thanks

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    1. Wow, that’s a great idea. Would love to see specific events organized this way by news organization; would be cool to do 3 major events in different categories and rank/organize them. Not to create more work, but that would be super-fascinating.

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  3. Mother Jones needs to be moved down. The Washington Post and NYT need to be moved further Left. And The Washington Times needs to be moved to the other side of the line. Slate needs to go down and to the left.

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  4. Obviously you don’t read the LA Times enough! I would have moved it a touch further left, and just into the lower left quadrant. They are unabashedly supporting far left positions and very anti business (for any business not pushing the liberal agenda). Very slanted reporting with lots of unsubstantiated previously published references — many from the LA Times itself! Self referential and left serving.

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  5. And NPR should be on there, mid-left in the semi-sane vertical. I can’t believe taxpayers pay to support such liberal agenda. NPR SHOULD BE in the exact center in a perfect world.

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    1. Agreed. As a reader on the right, that’s the one that threw me too. The Weekly Standard is generally level-headed and reasoned. Bombastic is Breibart’s MO. I’d also put Drudge further down towards bombastic too.

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    1. RT is different. It is a Russian propaganda organ whose intention is to influence US politics in a direction, left or right, that suits Russia. It really doesn’t belong on this chart. Otherwise, this is cool.

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  6. I’d put the WSJ further right since Murdock took over. The slant in both the reporting and the opinions has skewed a lot since then. Also, The Economist is an interesting one. Despite a belief in free markets, their social views are aligned with the left, so I’d probably put it left of center rather than right.

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  7. I love this idea! I’d like to see it formalized into a more robust graph with specific points based on a mathematical analysis of the attributes and content. Perhaps someone can program a model that can be updated monthly? 😀

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  8. I would find this graph a better resource if it were less bombastic.
    You are using the wrong labels and thus making this page less valuable.

    The vertical dimension should be fact/reason-based versus emotion/opinion-based. Using bombastic/insane means making a value judgment that one can argue with forever, not a criterion that is worthy of debate. Bombast is not quantifiable.
    Case in point: Upworthy. They are not trying to be factual news, they are appealing to emotions. They are very clear about it – their mission uses words like ’empathy’ ‘surprised, happy, inspired, motivated, even sad’.
    Who are you to call them insane or bombastic? Emotion-based, yes, and thus not a good source for unbiased facts. But appealing to emotions is an entirely sane thing to do. It is important to keep their emotional appeal mission in mind when consuming the information on their site, but it is incorrect to judge them for it. (I picked them as an example, I have no connection to that page, the principle applies so others).

    Yes, it’s an issue of semantics but semantics is what differentiates these sources of news.

    Please reconsider how you think about and label this axis because the point you are making and the graphic itself is so worth-while.

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  9. MSNBC and CNN are misplaced; they should be much lower and much farther left. Vast omissions of relevant info and extraordinary leftist propaganda have moved these to far below a line of embarrassment – they are national tragedies and quite dangerous to personal responsibility and the freedom that flows from said existential element. These 2? Much lower – and much further left. Not bombastic – but definitely carrying the appearance of insanity.

    Further note; American Thinker should be – in fact – above the line and further right.

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  10. The Daily Signal should clearly be in the upper right quadrant. As a media outlet of the respected Heritage Foundation, it doesn’t belong in the “bombastic” quadrant!

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  11. It seems useful for those outlets I don’t know. But then I note that Breitbart is only slightly less insane/bombastic to the middle-right than Mother Jones is insane to the far left: I find that incredible, by which I mean “lacking credibility”.

    Also, I find that Rolling Stone is positioned as more insane/bombastic than Breitbart. I haven’t found MSNBC insane/bombastic at all for a couple of years, and certainly don’t find CNN more insane than Fox. Finally, Fox is apparently middle-right. As the creators of the Tea Bagger devolution, I think that’s misguided.

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  12. The Toast isn’t posting anymore, so I’m not sure why they’re included on here. Also, conflating “bombastic” & “insane” make for an unfair comparison of InfoWars and The Toast. The Toast leans/leaned left, but there was always a division between the more bombastic humor pieces and really well-reasoned political/social/personal essays. I have the same issue with the placement of Mary Sue.

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  13. At least for topics in finance, Zero Hedge delivers thorough and thoughtful analysis. Haven’t read other things by them, but the quality of work I have seen, I seriously doubt they belong anywhere near the “insane/bombastic” end of the spectrum.

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  14. I appreciate this a lot, and agree with much of it, but am wondering why The Christian Science Monitor isn’t in there? I find that to be a very objective news source that I think would be placed on the middle/upper line.

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