The voice from the base(ment): Stridency, referential structure, and partisan conformity in the political blogosphere

  • Elizabeth Anne Roodhouse Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Keywords: Blogosphere, Bloggers, Sarah Palin, Echo chamber, U.S. politics

Abstract

The Internet has become a critical medium for American politics: in 2008, almost half of American adults looked for political information online, and 30 percent of Internet uses contributed to online political discussions. Using the candidacy of Sarah Palin as a case study of a provocative political event, this paper examines the tone, partisan leanings, and referential structure of six elite blogs. First by randomly sampling overall trends of Palin coverage and then by performing a quantitative content analysis of a sub-sample of posts, this paper finds that the valence and stridency of blog posts vary by partisan identification, and that stridency dramatically affects the referential structure of posts. Although the referential structure of blog posts varies significantly by blog, it does not vary along partisan lines. Nonetheless, the relationship between stridency and partisan conformity exposed by this paper illustrates a trend amongst conservative blogs to repeat the allegations of “liberal media bias” often voiced by traditional conservative media outlets, contributing to an “echo chamber” effect in the blogosphere.

Author Biography

Elizabeth Anne Roodhouse, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Anne Roodhouse is a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include the effects of new media on adolescent political socialization and the formation of political attitudes and opinions.
Published
2009-08-28
How to Cite
Roodhouse, E. A. (2009). The voice from the base(ment): Stridency, referential structure, and partisan conformity in the political blogosphere. First Monday, 14(9). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v14i9.2624