How we perceive news events depends increasingly on our political allegiances. Take Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination or the revocation of Jim Acosta’s press pass—recent examples where two otherwise decent, rational people could watch the same videos and walk away with starkly different interpretations of what took place. After last weekend’s confrontation between a MAGA hat-wearing teen and an indigenous veteran near the Lincoln Memorial sparked another firestorm of politically divisive rhetoric, Rusty Guinn of Epsilon Theory wanted to explore these dueling narratives at scale.
He used Quid to analyze coverage from the event and found evidence of a distinct split between those who saw the teens as the aggressors and those who did not. An overwhelming number—74% of all articles, to be exact—used loaded words like “mock” or “taunt” in their reporting and a little more than half felt it necessary to include the phrase “MAGA hats.”
After longer videos of the event emerged, the narrative actually split into two and tied the confrontation to dominant political themes from both sides: the bigotry of Trump supporters and the bias of the news media. Read more about the narrative split and Epsilon Theory’s full analysis on their blog.
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