Weekly Update: Week of March 21, 2011

The most obvious finding from this week’s word cloud is the disparity in coverage of Geraldine Ferraro’s death in political blogs vs. the MSM.

MSM vs. political blogs, week of 03/21/11

Aside from that, Libya and the Japanese nuclear disaster remain the leading stories in both the MSM and political blogs, though at lower levels than last week.  Mentions of “Libya” fell from 1.7% to .71% in MSM and from 2.2% to 1.2% in political blogs.  Mentions of “Japan” went from 1.4% to .86% in MSM and from 1% to .74% in political blogs, and while mentions of “nuclear” held steady in political blogs (at 1.1%), it fell in the MSM from 1.1% to .81%.

One of the topics filling the vacuum is US fiscal policy, with mentions of “tax” going up in MSM from .56% of all words last week to .67% this week and in political blogs from .94% last week to 1.3% this week.

Compare left vs. right blogosphere on "tax", week of 03/21/11

Signaling that the left and right blogospheres are covering taxes in very different ways, we see that the only shared words in the word cloud (see our FAQ for how these words are generated) are democrats, republicans, Obama, Wisconsin, and tax.  You might be able to imagine how this difference in tone plays out.  Left blogs tend to talk about taxes in the context of corporations not paying them, like in this post from Liberty Pundits.

In general, the left and right blogospheres are remarkably dissimilar this week, with a cosine similarity of .59:

Compare left vs. right blogosphere, week of 03/21/11

A couple weeks ago, we noted that the right tends to use President Obama’s first name more than the left.  We chalked that up to a subtle attempt to de-legitimize the President (ie: by referring to him as Barack Obama instead of President Obama), but it seems to be a pattern with Democrats/liberals being referred to by the first names and Republicans/conservatives being referred to by their last names.  Notice the appearance of “Geraldine” in the right blogosphere, but no appearance of “Ferraro,” and “Trump,” “Walker,” “Gingrich,” and “Bush” in the right, but no “Donald,” “Scott,” “Newt” or “George/Jeb/etc.”  A few more interesting nuggets from the left/right compare this week:

*It seems there’s been news in the Natalee Holloway case, but it’s only covered in great frequency on the right (“Van der Sloot,” “Natalee Holloway”).

*Syria, Qaddafi and NATO make it into the word cloud on the right but not the left.

*Nuclear, Japan, reactor, meltdown, radioactive and Fukushima make it into the cloud on the left but not the right.

*The left seems to be covering the Jeremy Morlock case more than the right.

*Donald Trump’s emergence as a birther got traction on the right, like in this post from I Hate the Media.

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