Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Digital media a factor in ferocity of political campaigns

Date:
November 15, 2011
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
A new study of recent political blogs indicates politics are getting nastier due to digital media, which are segmenting people into polarized interest groups. The researcher recommends a balanced approach to finding information in order to return civility to political discourse, which is at the heart of democracy.

A University of Missouri study of recent political blogs indicates politics are getting nastier due to digital media, which are segmenting people into polarized interest groups. The researcher recommends a balanced approach to finding information in order to return civility to political discourse, which is at the heart of democracy.

"One side is going to lose in every political discussion," said Ben Warner, associate professor of communication in the MU College of Arts and Science. "The danger with this open hostility found in digital media toward the other side in politics is that it undermines the legitimacy of the people that we disagree with politically. It's important to recognize that people who disagree with you aren't 'evil' or 'trying to destroy America;' they just have different perspectives."

While examining political arguments in the digital age, Warner found the rhetoric in Howard Dean's 2004 presidential primary blogs indicated a dramatic fight between heroes and villains. As bloggers for the site would post comments about their activities, a common theme of "fighting to take back our country" emerged.

"While this isn't new language to campaigns, it implies that political authority must be taken rather than earned, indicating that the ruling party is an illegitimate power," Warner said. "When this type of language is adopted by the base, a channel is created for that viciousness to grow."

As a contrast, Warner also reviewed President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign blogs, in which bloggers often dismissed overly negative comments and asked users to remain respectful.

"The conversation on the Obama blogs matched the respectful tone modeled by the campaign itself," said Warner. "Senator John McCain wasn't an 'evil villain' but a 'misguided politician who should be respected for his service to the country.'"

Warner recommends that people use varied sources of information, including mainstream media and sites that feature the opposing view, to form their opinions. While noting that there were still wide sections of both blogs that were well-intentioned and respectful models of civic engagement, Warner notes that blogs could assist in turning "scattered political frustrations" into "passionate mobs."

"There are times when passionate mobs are precisely what society needs. Yet, we all need to realize our nation is filled with diverse perspectives," Warner said. "Ideological warfare does little to heal divisions in society, but trust in each other can preserve a healthy democracy."

The article "The polarizing influence of fragmented media: lessons from Howard Dean," is published in the Atlantic Journal of Communication, and is co-authored by Ryan Neville-Shepard of Indiana University -- Purdue University Columbus.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Digital media a factor in ferocity of political campaigns." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102125654.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2011, November 15). Digital media a factor in ferocity of political campaigns. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102125654.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Digital media a factor in ferocity of political campaigns." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102125654.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Urgent-Care Clinics Ill-Equipped to Treat Ebola

Urgent-Care Clinics Ill-Equipped to Treat Ebola

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Urgent-care clinics popping up across the US are not equipped to treat a serious illness like Ebola and have been told to immediately call a hospital and public health officials if they suspect a patient may be infected. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins