You shall judge a man by his friends. Or his Twitter follows.
A group of researchers at Duke University found that public figures who are not openly political, as well as private citizens who use the site mainly for social purposes, unwittingly reveal their political leanings through whom they choose to follow, and who follows them.
In other words, it’s not just what you tweet.
“The order just emerges from the patterns in followings,” researcher David B. Sparks said.
The Duke analysis started by comparing the networks of a large number of Twitter accounts. The accounts of those in the political centre will have networks that look similar, while the more liberal accounts will have progressively less in common with the more conservative ones. The two accounts that have the least in common will be the most conservative and the most liberal. Among members of the House of Representatives those accounts belonged to Michelle Bachmann and John Conyers, respectively.
We’ve culled the five most left-leaning and right-leaning media figures from the study.
But first, here’s who missed the list: The O’Reilly Factor, Ann Coulter, and Drudge Report were not far enough right, while Katie Couric, MSNBC, the Washington Post, and Brian Williams were just left of centre.
Founded by Tucker Carlson, a 20-year media veteran, and Neil Patel, former chief policy adviser to Vice President Cheney, The Daily Caller is a 24-hour news site. On March 22, it tweeted, 'TheDC wants to know: Do you think the Libyan war is going to cause problems for Democrats in 2012? http://j.mp/4IWfV9.'
Sean Hannity, a former general contractor turned political commentator, now hosts a nationally syndicated talk-radio show and a TV show on FOX News. A recent tweet reads, 'Some leaders aren't backing Obama's plan for Libya-latest reports + Col North, Fmr rep Sestak, @dickmorristweet & the Great American Panel.'
A conservative blogger, political commentator, and author, on March 21, Michelle Malkin tweeted, 'Just posted - Hey, NPR: Fund your own lame liberal humour -- and leave my family alone http://tinyurl.com/4e53gao.'
This online arts and culture magazine regularly features work on or by various literary luminaries. A recent tweet of an article states, 'Alarmed by the so-called crisis in Japan? The invisible hand of the free market explains nuclear safety http://salon.com/a/sIC4fAA.'
Mother Jones is an independent, nonprofit magazine focused on investigative journalism. On March 22, it tweeted, 'Evangelist Franklin Graham: Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated Obama administration: http://bit.ly/heVun5.'
Founded in 1865, The Nation is a weekly journal of opinion, featuring analysis on politics and culture. A March 20 tweet states, 'The message out of Fukushima is clear: our own fleet of leaky old nuclear plants should be decommissioned now. http://bit.ly/ew4uYI #p2.'
Blogger for the Washington Post, columnist for Newsweek, and contributor to MSNBC, Ezra Klein tweeted on March 22, 'Urban Institute doesn't buy GOP claims that health-care reform is a job-killer nor Dem claims that it's a job creator: http://bit.ly/e7nlpq.'
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