You Are What You Say: Democrats and Republicans in Blue and Red

Our latest podcast is called “How Biased Is Your Media?” (You can download/subscribe at iTunes or get the RSS feed.)

It includes an interview with University of Chicago economist Matthew Gentzkow, who discusses a study he coauthored with Jesse Shapiro about newspaper bias. They used a sample of 433 newspapers and sorted the phrases favored by Congressional Democrats and Republicans.

Here, in visual form using Wordle, are the Democrats’ favorite words:

And the Republicans’ favorites:

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  1. Mark West says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • tudza says:

      As I understand it, the colors used are supposed to alternate, so red and blue should not be associated with either party. Don’t know if they have been locked in now by public opinion.

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    • Terry says:

      I remember them being purple and yellow in the 80s and 90s?

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  2. Clancy says:

    Odd that “Stem” is so much larger than “Cell” What else are they talking about “Stem”s for?

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    • JB says:

      STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics

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      • kshankar says:

        Could be, but why would Congressional Republicans use “Stem” in that context?

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      • Jason says:

        STEM for sci, tech, engr, and math, is a huge buzzword in Washington. It ties together economic competitiveness, education reform, and public-private investment strategies. Republicans love the idea of supporting STEM corporations, e.g., privatizing parts of NASA’s work, while Democrats love the investment in education, e.g., closing the gap between women and men in the STEM workforce. Popular issue from all sides; therefore, everyone looks for a STEM angle now when pushing their pet policies in DC.

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      • Joe J says:

        Can’t reply to the kshankar post below, for some reason.
        “Could be, but why would Congressional Republicans use “Stem” in that context?”

        Republicans promote STEM in learning, (We need more engineering majors for our workforce) Democrats push more toward arts and humanities. ( We need more bloggers and women studies majors in the workforce.)

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    • Matt says:

      “Economic uncertainties stem from low consumer confidence…”

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    • Travis says:

      “cells” and “cell” appear to be quantified separately.

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  3. Caleb Huitt says:

    Some of the words are weighted the same and in close proximity, which made me wonder about Democrat’s thoughts on the “wage class” system, as well as Republican’s objections to environmentalists trying to preserve the “hate forest”.

    It is also interesting to note that “Republican” and “Republicans” show up in the Democrat’s chart, but the opposite is not the case in the Republican’s. And does “pluripotent” really come up that often in conversation?

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    • Rex McClure says:

      It is also interesting to note that the Democrats frequently discuss “Republican Health”, and the Republicans discuss “Retirement Death Cells”.

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    • Antman says:

      ‘Pluripotent’ occurs a few times when science is discussed in Progressive circles. Conservatives make a reference to the discussions and hundreds of thousands of Republicans start asking what it means.

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  4. James says:

    Arrangement of seemingly unrelated words can d give rise to some oddities. For example, in the bottom center-right of both I can see “President breaks child” (for the Democrats) and “support economic terrorism” (for the Republicans).

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  5. YX says:

    WTF is Card Companies?

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    • J1 says:

      For that matter, what is Priscilla legislation? Some means of increasing creation, no doubt. And do Dems really seek gun-gas balances? I suppose if your in a fight against the Central Violence Corporation, each might come in handy. Or it could be part of the privatize war movement.

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    • Joe J says:

      Credit card companies? most likely.

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  6. Christopher Browne says:

    I suppose that this tells you a bit about how to construct essays that may be expected to “please” the desired listeners.

    I wonder what the Canadian equivalents are; I’m pretty sure that our (Conservative|Liberal|NDP) groups have analogous biases.

    And if you’re trying to ask something of your representative, who might hearken from a different party than you do, it’s kind of useful if you can word things in such a way that you don’t get instantly dismissed due to sounding like you’re coming from a perspective that they don’t care so much about.

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  7. Eric M. Jones. says:

    I am disappointed that the study paper does not give a clear conclusion of “Liberal/Conservative” slant on the news question. Or maybe I just couldn’t see it.

    Curious point of no particular importance–

    The Republican words include proper names: Saddam, Hussein, Janice, Rehnquist, Rogers, Owen, Priscilla; while the Democrats have only Rosa (Parks?).

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  8. Rob Jordan says:

    @Mark West The convention of blue representing the democratic party and red the republican party was established in the 2000 election. You may recall that the election ended in a rather strange way, with recounts in Flordia, associated court cases, and Al Gore ultimately losing in the electoral college despite a majority of the popular vote. In explaining all this, the media made frequent discussion of “blue states” and “red states” resulting in an association of those two colors with the democratic and republican party, which has been carried forward from that point on. Had this occurred in 1996 (when red was representing the democrats and blue the conservatives) we likely would have ended up with the exact opposite system like in Europe, where liberals tend to be represented by the color red, and conservatives by blue.

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    • Nate says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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