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The Political Slant of Web Portal News and the Implications Relating to the Fake News Phenomenon

Dongook Choi

No 85, KDI Focus from Korea Development Institute (KDI)

Abstract: The argument that the news selection of Korean web portals is politically biased lacks not only objective evidence but also discourse on what the causes are. If web portals provide a sufficient amount of variety in their news contents, it may be unnecessary to regulate the average bias. However, a cautious approach is needed when expanding algorithm-based news feed services as the selective consumption of personalized news will polarize public opinion, which in turn, will serve to further disseminate fake news. - Web portals have editing teams that select and assign news contents. - In the past, bias was commonly measured in a subjective or arbitrary manner. - The partisanship was measured strictly based on statistics and not the researcher's arbitrary judgement. - The political leanings of web portals measured on a specific time line is the result of public opinion of a certain event. - Web portals have an incentive to maximize their advertising profit by increasing the number of users' clicks. - Consumers tend to reduce additional news consumption in the news section when they agree less with the views of the posted article. - The political bias of portal news is related to the portal's profit structure. - Personalized news feed could take away the chance for consumers to experience the diversity of news contents. - The erosion of public trust in mainstream media and the increased use of SNS amplified the spread of fake news. - In Korea, web portal can serve as a checking mechanism that suppress the echo-chamber effect incurred by SNS. - Diversity indicators can be developed using the level of bias in portal news. - News with diverse perspectives should be made available via web portals.

Date: 2017
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