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The liberal media and right-wing conspiracies: using cocitation information to estimate political orientation in web documents

By Miles Efron


This paper introduces a simple method for estimating cultural orientation, the affiliation of online entities in a polarized field of discourse. In particular, cocitation information is used to estimate the political orientation of hypertext documents. A type of cultural orientation, the political orientation of a document is the degree to which it participates in traditionally left- or right-wing beliefs. Estimating documents ’ political orientation is of interest for personalized information retrieval and recommender systems. In its application to politics, the method uses a simple probabilistic model to estimate the strength of association between a document and left- and right-wing communities. The model estimates the likelihood of cocitation between a document of interest and a small number of documents of known orientation. The model is tested on three sets of data, 695 partisan web documents, 162 political weblogs, and 72 non-partisan documents. Accuracy above 90 % is obtained from the cocitation model, outperforming lexically based classifiers at statistically significant levels

Topics: General Terms Algorithms, Measurement, Experimentation. Keywords Opinion Mining, PMI-IR, Cocitation, Politics, Cultural Orientation, Personalization
Year: 2004
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