Recently, I noticed that several webloggers that discussed the suspected chemical weapons plant found in southern Iraq on March 24 weren’t mentioning those claims turned out to be false, even after the story was
retracted revised on USA Today, New York Times, the Washington Post, and Yahoo’s front page yesterday.
I thought this particular example would be an interesting case study to study how bias affects story selection on weblogs. So I searched Technorati for weblogs that linked to the four most popular URLs (1, 2, 3, 4) about the chemical plant. Starting with a list of 148 weblogs spanning the socio-political spectrum, I located the relevant entry on each site and searched for followups or updates.
In brief, here are my findings. 112 weblogs linked to the original story, but didn’t follow up with another entry or correct their existing entry in any way. 28 weblogs linked to the original story, and later posted a correction or other addendum. 8 weblogs only linked to the story after it proved to be false, but didn’t link to it when the news originally broke. The complete list of categorized links is below. (If you have any corrections, please e-mail or leave a comment.)
If you look at the sites, it appears that conservative weblogs tended to only link the original report, liberal weblogs tended to only link to the correction, and mixed and group weblogs linked to both.
I’m not going to jump to conclusions with these results; they don’t necessarily imply bias from their authors. The followup article could be considered less newsworthy as the breaking news, for example, or it might be more a reflection of a reluctance to rehash a story that a weblogger has already covered. I would love to hear from any of the webloggers, explaining why they did or didn’t follow up with an update to the story. Any theories or interpretations of the data are also welcome.
And if you can think of a polarizing breaking news story that many left-wing, anti-war webloggers jumped on but later neglected to retract, e-mail me.
Linked to report, then later posted correction:
The Bayou City Perspective, Betsy’s Page, /dev/clue, frost.infara.net, Meme Cauldron, Just Your Average Catholic Guy, Man Without Qualities, Mutated Monkeys, The Noble Pundit, Lex Communis, Pilgrimage, pineappletown, Business as Usual, SCSUScholars, The Volokh Conspiracy, Bruner Blog, Cliff Alligood, The Command Post, The Review, Damn Fool Kids, Blog Left: Critical Interventions, Heretical Ideas, Jay Reding.com, MetaFilter, P.B. ALMEIDA online, rubberpants daily, RuminateThis, Tenorman
Linked to report only:
Mark Byron, alicublog, The American Kaiser, Arecibe’s blog of something, aucurrant, MidEast News Digest, The Devil’s Excrement, Secular Blasphemy, The Blogs of War, Brandeis Vanguard, brojuddblog, Burton Terrace, Wunderpund, The Canadian Loudmouths, Hoplites, NIME, COINTELPRO Tool, Cold Fury, Common Sense and Wonder, Country Store, courrges, The Crazy Write Winger, Curmudgeons Corner, Dfenestrator, Environmental Republican, In Context, The Second to Last Resort, ReligionOfPeace, Jason’s BLOG, JawsBlog, Jay Solo’s Verbosity, JunkYardBlog, Just a Pose, LIFE DOWN HERE, LilacRose, Little Green Footballs, Lotsanews, MBLblog, My Pencil, ONEBIGSWEDE, Oriental Redneck, OxBlog, peripathetic, PejmanPundit, PeoriaPundit, The Encyclopeteia, Linnwood Political, QuantumTunnels.com, Shouting ‘Cross the Potomac, The Real Geek’s Blog, Red Pony Dance, Life Akimbo, Rumination, The last, best hope for…, Stars and Stripes, Imperialist Crusader’s realm of Totalitarianism, The Plain Truth, Titusonenine, iamabrokekid Blog, haganah, Viking Pundit, Weekend Pundit, willtysse.com, Winds of Change.NET, Crazy Saddam.com, About the War, Christian’s Blog, Aged and Confused, Andrew Sullivan, War Watch, better.shorter, brendoman.com, BusinessPundit, Chris Blanchard, The Conjecturer, Meaningful. To someone., Dean’s World, Diablogger, uBlog, GlennFrazier.com, GOP by Generation X, Now That Everyone Else Has One, Airbag, HappyFunLand dot net, Howard’s Musings, Internet Ronin, The Daily Rant, Living Torah Journal, It’s all downhill from here, NextDraft, One Man’s Vote, Oregon Commentator Online, Peppermint Patty, Power Line, RENT-A-GURKHA.com, RobBernard.com, robertgoodwin.net, The Mind Of Man, sednobis, The Skeptician, Conflict in Iraq, Ulmablogger, Andi & Joe Szilagyi’s Weborama, Rule the World, the RANT, This Classical Life, Critical Section, Rat’s Nest, Yodelhead’s Funnies Page, damnum absque injuria, THE YANKEE HERALD, My So-Called Blog
Posted correction only: