Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The new political force - some strange influences of the internet on politics and other news and views

Donald Trump’s tantrums drive web traffic—helping him game the entire American media - Traffic to stories about Trump, even if they contained no substantive new information or a comment from the candidate himself, was running some 10 times higher than that of any other candidate. ... In revenue terms, that 10x means if a website earns $20 for every thousand page views, it can make, say, $20,000 on a Trump story, but only $2,000 on an article about Cruz, Clinton, Sanders or Rubio. Given those dynamics and the pressure on many digital media outlets to come up with content that generates page views, more and more stories are likely to be written about Trump, giving him even greater leverage over the media. Thanks to his value on the web, even the smallest items of Trump-related news gets covered. This dynamic gets even more interesting when taking into account a digital media practice of republishing old material to boost traffic. The marginal cost of doing this is about zero; you don’t have to pay a staffer or freelance writer to write it all over again. Depending on whether any of the major tech platforms like Facebook or Yahoo pick it up, page views can match or even outstrip viewership of the original material. So most of that $20,000 drops to the bottom line.

Online journalists' survey: 'Public will soon live off attention-seeking, fact-free, gossipy clickbait'

Better internet access and UK politics: Unintended consequences - The internet is lauded for increasing access to information, but it is unclear whether this translates into a better-informed and more engaged voting populace. This column uses UK data to determine how the internet has changed voting patterns and aggregate policy choices. Internet penetration is found to be associated with a decrease in voter turnout, mainly among the lower socioeconomic demographic. Internet diffusion is also found to reduce local government expenditure, in particular on policies targeting less-educated voters. These findings point to a trade-off between the ‘digital divide’ and the ‘political divide’.

On Wikipedia, Donald Trump Reigns and Facts Are Open to Debate - For a website with no paid writing staff that is still overcoming an out-of-date reputation for inaccuracy, Wikipedia punches above its weight. As a primer for just about any topic, it is especially powerful in an election season: On the day of the 2012 election, Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s entries alone were read 1.6 million times.

Book reveals Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin’s secrets

Buzz builds for Rubio in Iowa - Buzz is growing on the ground in Iowa around Marco Rubio, who many political watchers believe is set for a stronger-than-expected showing at Monday’s caucuses. In interviews with The Hill, Iowa Republicans and independent analysts in the state say Rubio is primed to break free from the second tier of contenders and finally emerge as the candidate to save the establishment from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who are battling for the lead in Iowa.

It’s not presidents but pressure groups who lead US politics

Here’s the Donald Trump bandwagon, and Rupert Murdoch nimbly leaping aboard - Last September, the tweeting Rupert loved Ben Carson, not The Donald. ... Last September, the tweeting Rupert loved Ben Carson, not The Donald. He called it a choice “between a land of hope and a land of fear”. Back at the ranch, his Wall Street Journal editorialists faithfully roasted Trump’s candidacy: Trump-loving conservative media were “hurting the cause”, they said. “If Donald Trump becomes the voice of conservatives, conservatism will implode along with him.” But now the Journal’s editorials sing a strangely different tune. “Mr Trump is a better politician than we ever imagined, and he is becoming a better candidate… He might possibly be able to appeal to a larger set of voters than he has so far.” And so on and oleaginously forth, while the greater tweeting Murdoch sings descant. “Trump appeals across party lines – surely the winning strategy.”

German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too
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