Monday, November 28, 2016

Liberals, Conservatives, and Radio

Everyone knows how much conservatives love (and do well) political talk radio. It's dominated by folks like Rush Limbaugh and, to a lesser degree, Sean Hannity and a cast of others. Liberals don't do well with the medium, at least not nationally.

But how do liberals and conservatives differ in how they see radio programming? I provide a first visual, blush at some data crunching based on multidimensional scaling of radio programs, those in talk radio and National Public Radio. The labels are mostly from the host of the program (i.e., Limbaugh) or the full name of a program that isn't host-based. I'll discuss each below. First:

Liberals and Radio Programs

Notice above how liberals bunch all the host-based programs together in one lump on the left side all stuck together more or less on the X-axis? They see them as all the same, regardless of partisan views. and show some distinction among the various NPR programs (Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, Fresh Air, and Morning Edition). OK, now:

Conservatives and Radio Programs

See the difference? Conservatives distinguish among the various host-based programs, especially Limbaugh and Hannity, but also Glenn Beck and the rest. But conservatives are more likely to lump together the various NPR programs, to not distinguish among them all that much.

What's it mean? From a theoretical perspective this fits, to some degree, in-group and out-group differences. We tend to see lots of variety in our in-group and see all those out-group people as all the same. To put it in college terms, a frat member will see lots of variety among members of fraternities, but an independent (non-Greek) may see them as all the same. That's what I think is happening here. It's the core of a larger study I'm doing.

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