Moral Foundations of U.S. Political News Organizations

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Description: The media ecosystem has grown, and political opinions have diverged such that there are competing conceptions of objective truth. Commentators often point to political biases in news coverage as a catalyst for this political divide. The Moral Foundations Dictionary (MFD) facilitates identification of ideological leanings in text through frequency of the occurrence of certain words. Through web scraping, the researchers extracted articles from popular news sources' websites, calculated MFD word frequencies, and identified words' respective valences. This process attempts to uncover news outlets' positive or negative endorsements of certain moral dimensions concomitant with a particular ideology. In Experiment 1, the researchers gathered political articles from four sources. We were unable to reveal significant differences in moral or political endorsements, but we solidified the method to be employed in further research. In Experiment 2, the researchers expanded their number of sources to 10 and analyzed articles that pertain to two specific topics: the 2018 confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the partial U.S. Government Shutdown of 2018-2019. Once again, no significant differences in moral or political endorsements were found.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

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