Partisanship, Propaganda, & Disinformation: Online Media & the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

Source: Robert Faris, Hal Roberts, Bruce Etling, Nikki Bourassa, Ethan Zuckerman, Yochai Benkler, Harvard – Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Research Paper, August 2017

From the abstract:
In this study, we analyze both mainstream and social media coverage of the 2016 United States presidential election. We document that the majority of mainstream media coverage was negative for both candidates, but largely followed Donald Trump’s agenda: when reporting on Hillary Clinton, coverage primarily focused on the various scandals related to the Clinton Foundation and emails. When focused on Trump, major substantive issues, primarily immigration, were prominent. Indeed, immigration emerged as a central issue in the campaign and served as a defining issue for the Trump campaign.

We find that the structure and composition of media on the right and left are quite different. The leading media on the right and left are rooted in different traditions and journalistic practices. On the conservative side, more attention was paid to pro-Trump, highly partisan media outlets. On the liberal side, by contrast, the center of gravity was made up largely of long-standing media organizations steeped in the traditions and practices of objective journalism.

Our data supports lines of research on polarization in American politics that focus on the asymmetric patterns between the left and the right, rather than studies that see polarization as a general historical phenomenon, driven by technology or other mechanisms that apply across the partisan divide.

The analysis includes the evaluation and mapping of the media landscape from several perspectives and is based on large-scale data collection of media stories published on the web and shared on Twitter.
Related:
Trump backers’ alarming reliance on hoax and conspiracy theory websites, in 1 chart
By Source: Aaron Blake, Washington Post, August 22, 2017