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 April 20, 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 April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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