Favorite News Sources Across the Political Aisle

What are the most liberal-leaning and conservative-leaning news outlets?

Sometime last presidential election season I had this very thought. All kinds of dirt was being thrown around about both candidates; however, lots of it was coming from news sources I had never heard of. I probably still wouldn’t have if Twitter and Reddit didn’t exist, providing these outlandish stories a platform for mass exposure (and mass outrage).

So I could never really tell if what I was reading was from a legit source, completely spun, or flat-out fake. For example I would see a headline like:

FBI Arrests Hillary on Corruption Charges

Linking to a news outlet calling themselves “The Discovery Examiner Guardian“, or something. I thought, well… if The DEG is like the NYT, Hil-dawg is probably in deep shit. If the DEG is like Breitbart then I’m 99% sure the opposite is true.

So who the F are these guys? Like, in general.

So I googled: What are the most liberal-leaning and conservative-leaning news outlets? To my dismay I found nothing satisfying. No ranking lists curated by experts, no data driven politio-meter, nothing really. Just a bunch of anecdotes from internet people complaining that so-and-so news is like totally bias.

I guess it makes sense given that any corporation attempting to appear as “the news” is trying to woo as many people as possible into believing they are thee most credible straight-shootin’, just-the-facts-you-decide, fair-and-balanced, no-underlying-agenda organization around. So, as nice as it would be, of course Fox News isn’t going to post on their homepage something like, “We are a 8/10 on the left/right political spectrum“.

So I had an idea… Reddit created this mess; let’s see if they can help fix it.

Using Reddit API (PRAW), I wrote python script to identify the favorite news sources of two subreddit communities on opposite ends of the political aisle.

This bot scraped the url from the top daily submissions to the main pro-Trump and anti-Trump subreddit communities, essentially determining these subreddits favorite news outlets. Nota bene: the validity of these data as a litmus for liberal-leaning and conservative-leaning news rests on the assumption that generally people prefer to post and upvote stories that align-with and support their personal world view.

Without further adieu…

UPPER PANEL: pro-Trump subreddit The_Donald
LOWER PANEL: anti-Trump subreddit EnoughTrumpSpam

I cross posted this project on Reddit’s Data is Beautiful, where a Googler, Filipe Hoffa saw my post and took it to the next level. Using data studio he expanded my original idea to all of reddit, and made it interactive. It’s something really worth playing around with for a few minutes. So go check it out!.

You can grab the code I used from this gist (you really don’t want it though, it’s awful)