Left + Right: The Combined Post-#Election2016 News “Ecosystem”

Jonathan Albright
4 min readDec 11, 2016

🇺🇸Finished! Here is a combined (ie, merged) network graph from my left-wing and right-wing news hyperlink “ecosystems.” The graphs were normalized and merged. To make it easier to read, I left out the edges (ie, the messy lines showing all the hyperlinks), and only the center of the larger graph is shown above for clarity. I also kept the site names to 14 characters or less so it’s readable. Sites linked to in both of my L + R networks (ie, “shared” node) are WHITE; if a site was linked to in the left-wing news network only, the node is BLUE; if it was linked to only in the right-wing news network, the node is RED.

The “clusters” spread throughout the combined network consist mostly of Facebook pages/profiles, Twitter profiles, links to #hashtags, small websites, and other social media-focused groups. Some of the “clusters” seem to be news events, conversations tied to specific controversies, or a groups of actors linked to a larger network actor (ie, an “opinion leader”).

Examples of social media “clusters”: opinion leaders, topics, & controversies in [L+R] combined network

Left-Wing Corner: Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Atlantic, & Slate

Upper “left-wing” corner of combined news ecosystem

Left-Wing Middle: CNN, The New York Times, & The Washington Post … and @ twitter.com/RealDonaldTrump (see below Instagram)

Lower “left-wing” corner of combined news ecosystem (zoom-in)

With a few exceptions, the unique “left-wing” sites are basically nowhere to be found on the right-wing side of the network. The graph confirms that, at least as far as connections (hyperlinks) go online, much of the major “left-wing” media appear to be isolated from the most active parts of the news ecosystem.

Right-Wing Corner: Wikipedia, Zerohedge, YouTube, Google, Infowars, Lifezette, Prisonplanet, & PJ Media

YouTube, Google, and Wikipedia in “right-wing” bottom corner of graph (zoom-in)

Seriously, the “right-wing” sites have Wikipedia, Facebook, Google, Reddit, and YouTube in their own network “corner.” Need I say more?

Right-Wing Middle: BBC, Independent, Washington Times, NIH, Lifesitenews & … The White House

Upper “right-wing” corner of combined news ecosystem (zoom-in)

To put it bluntly, “right-wing” news is everywhere: Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, small issue-based websites, large news websites, Wordpress blogs, Google Plus (?), Pinterest pages, Reddit threads, etc.

The Center of Combined L + R News Ecosystem: BI, FT, Senate.gov, Freedomworks, Truthrevolt, Time, and Canada Free Press (and HillaryClinton.com)

Zoom-in of center of combined news ecosystem (link network)

Remember this is just a hyperlink network. This map shows the sites the two (left & right) news media ecosystems are linking into. There’s no inherent “bias” in this graph other than using “red” and “blue” for sites that were not linked into in both networks. Any site that “shares” links between the two ecosystems was left uncolored. The more links into a site, the larger the circle.

Bottom line is, the right-wing sites appear to be linking heavily into most of the left-wing news media, the major news players, and also to each other. However, the “left-wing” media are not linking into most of the “right-wing” sites. To make matters worse, due to the relative lack of diversity in the left media ecosystem (see my last “macro-propaganda” post), there’s right-wing sites in more places across the network. This must have something to do with the “left-wing” news media/journalism “bubble.”

Senate.gov + FT+ NOAA

To make matters worse for the “left-wing” media, the right also appears to be much more active around the “center” of this combined news ecosystem. And what’s the site at the exact center of this L+R network? It’s Senate.gov. NOAA.gov appears to run a close second, though.



Jonathan Albright

Professor/researcher. Award-nominated data journalist. Media, data, & tech frmly #columbiajournalism #towcenter #berkmanklein #elonuniversity