An Endeavor To Mathematically Gauge Political Bias In The Media

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, yours truly determined that the continued possession of a television set meant I would eventually wind up in a hand surgeon’s office after punching a hole through the screen while perusing Sunday morning political shows. I’ve already been in a hand surgeon’s office once in my life (a story for another time), so I gave the television away.

Nobody blinked at the facts as presented – it would be a futile effort. The investigator would be ostracized. Concerted biases I thought. And unless one could provide definitive proof of leaning and/or collusion, through the universal language of numbers, the pillage of critical thought would continue unmitigated.

My skill has always been developing hypotheses based on casual observation of the natural world, documenting inference, inquiring, and pondering; I knew there was no way I could design formulae for measuring political bias, left or right, in the media. So I hired a couple of bona-fide mathmeticians; they cranked away while I sculpted an interface for data collection.

new_equation

The end of this tale is not full of fancy: the project failed miserably despite the persistent self-reinforcing delusion of its creator its theoretical solidity. Everyone just wanted to tell everyone else who they were shagging friends with, at the time via MySpace. We never developed a plugin for MySpace.

Then, just a week or so ago, I had a brief conversation regarding the gross ineptitude of today’s journalists, their inability (or downright ignorance) in executing on behalf of the public they purportedly serve. To ask the tough questions nobody seems to want to ask. Said exchange was too fleeting for elaboration, but it nevertheless struck a cord.

The media needs to be tested, and the work done nearly eight years ago may or may not still be applicable to our instantaneous information consumption world. Nevertheless, said work, outside of the actually code that was written, is hereby contained below. Yours truly acted as the primer, and the math whizzes I contracted with were well paid. Hence, I hold copyright on the work, but ask for nothing more than attribution should it prove useful in solving the problem: providing checks and balances where none seem to exist.

MG signing off (because I love ham, cheese, onion and green pepper omelettes for breakfast, but watching Sunday morning television not so much)

REFERENCES

Voting Math Primer

Algorithm Take 1

Algorthim Take 2

Algorithm Take 3