An attempt to chart media brands on the fake-real spectrum

I would love if someday people would stop using ‘liberal’ to mean ‘left’ or ‘progressive’ or whatever. Liberal is an actual political theory. And it isn’t all that lefty, at all.

I do realize that this is probably never going to happen, at least in the US where this is pretty entrenched (and which is not my country).


Yeah no.

Where does the Intercept fall on this? RT? Reason TV? Al Jazeera? Not to mention the countless YouTube news sources.

Huffpo is in the wrong place entirely. Definitely clickbait, and not necessarily liberal. Fox News does not meet as high standards as they say it does, even though it’s not clickbait. Also, NPR is no longer where it is on the chart, which is where it used to be. Same thing with Vox and Slate, although Slate was actually slightly further to the center. Vox started shitting the bed last year during primary season and now can’t stop crapping on itself.

They are definitely conflating lack of partisan bias with centrism. The true center is way to the left of either major party. Similarly, the phrases hyper-partisan liberal and hyper-partisan conservative don’t make sense. MSNBC is hyper-partisan Democrat which is not the same thing as hyper-partisan liberal. When the Democrats do not-so-liberal things, MSNBC is still behind the Democratic Party.

Wanting to deregulate everything and live in a Randian paradise is liberal. It’s classical liberalism.

Ah! So that’s where RT fits!

That is the one axis we actually care about. We can sort out ideologies later.


It would appear this word has more than one meaning - one that almost everybody in the US knows, and one that non-US political scientists know. Which one works better in a chart of US media?


I remember reading someones explanation which said that because both US major parties are (or were) economic liberals, but only the democrats are socially liberal.

I don’t think that is true outside the US Overton Window, but it makes more sense.


That is a good point. Its meaning here matches its audience.

I think that day comes the day after we figure out what the word ‘literally’ means.


Isn’t that Infowars/NaturalNews? I mean what conspiracy theory isn’t complex crazy?

This is a massively failed effort to chart news. The idea that HuffPo is the equivalent of Fox News is a joke, and as a liberal myself I’ve never heard of the far left conspiracy nut outlets but have heard of all the right wing ones. Hell, the right wing ones now have a leading light as “chief strategist” in the White House (or will in January), while the Democratic elected officials run like hell from the lefty nuts.

And MSNBC is not leftist. Yeah, it has some leftists on at night but Morning Joe has “liberals” like Harold Ford on, a guy who is being considered for a position in the Trump administration.

In all, this visually makes it look like there’s just as much bullshit on the left as the right, which is patently false. There is stupid shit on the left, but if you put the right and left crazies on a scale the lefties would be catapulted 10,000 miles.


That’s discussed in the “Broken Overton Windows” theory.


Complex-crazy would describe RT. There is (was?) some good lefty stuff on RT, and there’s Thom Hartmann who’s more of a radical centrist, and libertarian Adam Kokesh was there as well, but then they inexplicably support Putin and promote weird 9/11 conspiracy theories. Their ideology is a bit hard to pin down, and is actually more of a hodgepodge of conflicting ideologies. Plus, the so-far-left-it’s-right stuff and the so-far-right-it’s-left stuff and the wild conspiracy theories definitely put it in the complex-crazy zone. Not left-crazy, not right-crazy, complex-crazy.


There does seem to be a false balance attempt going on with the symmetrical design of this chart. No axis for traffic/viewership.


I have to admit that I have never heard of anyone in the liberal “don’t read this” circle.


This is a variation on nutpicking. You can sample some news outlets from everywhere on the spectrum just to make everything look equal. However, if you really wanted to do this for real, you could add data points representing each organization to the graph and, more importantly, weight them according to traffic.


I agree. A small comfort is when the host pitches his/her voice ever so slightly in just that certain way to say this is not fine, like when Audie Cornish announced Rick Perry for Energy Secretary.

I’m listening less often, and for less time when I do. As soon as I hear Trump speaking I turn it off. There’s so little information gleaned by listening to him that I’ve classed him a chaotic input and filter him out.


Yeah. And The Economist is a pretty good example of a liberal ‘newspaper.’

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I’ve seen a few of them linked to by friends on FB, but they pale in popularity and number of outright falsehoods compared to the rightwing fake news sites.

What’s missing from the charts is the supermarket tabloids, which have suddenly (well, that I’ve noticed anyway) become political and very pro-Trump. Fake news about Bat Boy seemed stupid but relatively harmless. Fake news in support of Trump in every supermarket, on the other hand, seems insidious. So, defiantly not a complete chart.


Oh, but a boy can dream!

RT doesn’t inexplicably support Putin, since it’s Russia’s Western-facing English-language propaganda outfit. Imagine Voice of America operating as a private enterprise of POTUS (we may not have to imagine for very long) and you’ll get a rough idea.

Youy’re correct that they do have good progressive and social libertarian stuff, but the reason they seem all over the map ideologically is that it’s deliberate. If you watch this Adam Curtis mini-documentary about the Putin regime’s larger propaganda approach of disinfo and FUD you’ll get an idea of why RT is so hard to pin down:

Curtis’s feature documentary “HyperNormalisition” goes into more detail.


[quote=“LearnedCoward, post:22, topic:91156”]Boundgear:
“I notice there is no axis for factual versus fake.”

That is the one axis we actually care about. We can sort out ideologies later.

Yeah, weird, isn’t it? It has a purported liberal/conservative axis, and a complex/sensational axis, but not fake/real axis. So kind of a big fail on the “attempt to chart media brands on the fake-real spectrum” given that that is exactly what it does not do and has no fake/real spectrum.