Perilous terrain blankets the news landscape as of late: Fake news, clickbait, hyperpartisan rhetoric, and satire are coming at readers faster than ever. For those of us who hustle to keep our audiences informed, the last few months have been pretty bleak.
When this graphic started floating around my news-nerd social circles a few months back, it got me thinking. The fake-news-vs.-real-news spectrum isn’t really a binary. Shades of point of view and, yes, sometimes, partisanship color a news site’s coverage of the facts. And when those stories are shared within “filter bubbles,” they reverberate, becoming true through repetition, leaving us unable to communicate with people who get their news from the other side.
This is the context that inspired us to create The Flipside, the latest project our of our news innovation team. The idea is simple: Use this tool to explore the diversity of stories trending on Twitter at any given time on a handful of topics. We’ve chosen to follow links from 14 publications, some mainstream, some from the edges of the political spectrum.
Today, you can dive into the Russia topic and see a mix of stories about Monday’s attack and the Trump team’s connections to the Russian government. But what’s trending across these sources paint a wildly different picture of what matters on this topic. A Daily Kos story is trending on Comey’s impact on the presidential election, while Breitbart’s trending story is on France’s Marine Le Pen encouraging Putin to partner with the West in the face of terrorist threats. Mainstream media, for its part, trends with a mix of news on the attacks and opinion pieces about Trump and Russia. What does this tell us? Depending on your filter bubble, the kinds of stories that cross your feed ― and your understanding of these complicated news topics ― vary wildly. Flipside’s ultimate goal is to help you see that other side ― and learn what it has to say.
We’ll keep it updated with topics as the news cycle shifts and changes ― giving you a window into how news looks on the other side.
A note about methodology: We didn’t do the ranking on this chart ourselves. We’re grateful to the partnership of Snopes.com for ranking these sites on the trustworthy scale and this 2016 study for helping us visualize these sites on a continuum of liberal to conservative.
Huge ups to an tremendous team on making this happen: Victor Brand, Mike Dorfman, Troy Dunham, Ali Fenichel, Emily Ingram, Aviva Kerstein, Marc Janks, Qing Wu.
Now go explore The Flipside and see what’s beyond your bubble.