Entry: Perceptions Monday, May 23, 2005



Several months ago, while surfing BlogExplosion, I came accross a site where the author announced publicly that he was dumping BE because he was tired of reading "all the BS liberal garbage".  It was a rather long diatribe, and among other things made a plea for more conservative bloggers to write more in order to "balance things out".  At the time, I found it rather amusing, since it was my perception that conservative blogs outnumbered liberal ones on BE by about 3 to 1.  I was reminded of this incident recently when a friend and I were dicussing the perceived liberal slant of the media.  During the conversation, he made the comment that, from his perspective, the media had a slightly conservative bent, not a liberal one as many conservatives claim.  But, he figured that the reality was that they were fairly balanced, but appeared to lean one way or the other based on the viewer's own ideals (i.e., he's pretty liberal, so if the news was being balanced, they were still to the "right" of his views and therefore he perceived them as conservative).  Personally, I tend to be rather moderate overall (yes, I can take very liberal or very conservative views on individual topics), even though I'm usually perceived as quite liberal (in truth, many of my "liberal views" stem from a deeply conservative belief on that particular topic . . . figure that one out).

Anyway, it got me to thinking (which is usually a painfull experience), and I decided to do a little experiment.  For the last few days, while surfing BlogExplosion and BlogAzoo I've kept a log of how many conservative and liberal sites I came accross.  Now, to be clear, I limitted the labelling to the content of the blog.  Just because the author was homosexual, I didn't label it a "liberal blog".  And just because there were links to "Blogging for Bush", I didn't automatically label it a "conservative blog".  Basically, I only included blogs in this analysis that contained at least one politically oriented post on the first page.  I also made sure to note the blog title so as not to double count any.  And here is what I discovered . . .

Of the politically oriented sites I was directed to approximately 46% were liberally oriented and 54% conservative.  A far cry from my perception that conservative sites greatly outnumbered liberal ones.  But, there's more to it than that.  I also made note of the "degree" of right/left tone the blog took.  Essentially, the sites that laid out the author's opinions/ideology in a civil, concise manner were labelled simply "conservative" or "liberal", while those blogs that were littered with insults, attacks, stereotypical diatribe, etc. were labeled as "extreme".  And this, I think, is where my misperception stemmed from.  You see, of the liberal leaning blogs, it was about a 60/40 mix of reasonable expression vs. extremism.  But of the conservative leaning ones, fully 81% consisted of derrogatory, insulting, name-calling, vitriolic diatribe.  And that, I believe, is what stands out most--what influences the perceptions the greatest.  The hate sites are the ones that leave an impression, and statistically speaking there are about twice as many "extremist" conservative blogs as there are liberal ones (at least, in my sampling of BE & BA).  But to those who ascribe to the extremist views, only those opposing views will stand out, so the perception will be that BE & BA are "flooded" with sites expressing the "other side".

   6 comments

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ms. mac
May 24, 2005   06:14 AM PDT
 
Frankly, I can't understand why anyone would feel the urge to read any blog which is quite clearly showing itself to be on either side of the political spectrum.

Surely the minute you declare yourself a "Blog for Bush" or even a "Blog for Blair" you are instantly only gaining yourself a readership which holds the same opinion as you or a readership at the opposite end of the spectrum who won't take anything you write seriously anyway.

And by the way, there are heaps more interesting things to be writing about, like Jake Gyllenhaal or Judy Greer! ;-)
Arethusa
May 23, 2005   07:23 PM PDT
 
That's so true, about the perception that BE had more conservative than liberal blogs, because I shared it. I can't say what it's like now as I blocked the political category on BE and life is much better now. I can't wait till one is able to block more than one, because the Business blogs will be next.
beautifulface
May 23, 2005   07:04 PM PDT
 
Hi Phil, Michele sent me!! Have a wonderful day!
Mandy
May 23, 2005   09:22 AM PDT
 
Did you also discover you have too much time on your hands? ;)

Just kidding...that was actually interesting. I try not to be political on my blog...it makes people say nasty things in the comments and I like happy comments. :)

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