Blind spot: Who is influencing the people who write the news in Alaska? There's an app for checking the news echo chamber - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, June 22, 2021
HomeThe 907Blind spot: Who is influencing the people who write the news in Alaska? There’s an app for checking the news echo chamber

Blind spot: Who is influencing the people who write the news in Alaska? There’s an app for checking the news echo chamber

A new tool by the website Ground.News reveals how people with Twitter accounts are interacting with news sources, and who is influencing them on Twitter. It is revealing when it comes to Alaska journalists, who dominate the Twitter universe in Alaska, and who also shape the narrative of the news.

Ground News’ main emphasis is to analyze news reports from across the globe. Readers can see results from an algorithm that shows whether left-leaning media has a blindspot to the story, and which stories right-leaning media is ignoring.

In addition, readers can use a tool on the site to analyze Twitter and Reddit accounts for who their account owners “like,” “share,” and otherwise interact with.

Must Read Alaska analyzed the accounts of many of the people who shape the mainstream media coverage in Alaska to see if they are interacting mostly on one end of the spectrum.

The results may not surprise readers:

Dave Hulen, the editor of the Anchorage Daily News, interacts 98 percent of the time with left-bias news sources on Twitter, including the newspaper he edits.

Must Read Alaska used the “blindspot” tool to compare Hulen to Must Read Alaska’s account which interacts with 75 percent right-leaning Twitter sources.

Hulen’s top three news sources are the ADN, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times. His top three news influencers are Marc Lester, ADN photographer; Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer; and Charles Ornstein, of ProPublica.

Downing’s top three news sources include NewsMax, where she writes a column; Fox News; and BitChute. Top influencers are Kevin Showalter, who regularly badgers Dr. Anne Zink on Twitter over state Covid policy; Jack Posobiec, who is described by Wikipedia as an “alt-right and alt-lite political activist, conspiracy theorist, television host, journalist, and Internet troll;” and Paul Thacker, an X Games X Games medalist and outdoor enthusiast.

Here are the results for a handful of other journalists in Alaska who are on Twitter regularly:

Rebecca Palsha, Alaska’s News Source: 62% of the news @RebeccaPalsha interacts with on Twitter is centrist, 37% is left. Top three sources are: ADN, New York Times, Washington Post. Top three influencers are Kyle Hopkins, WasillaWarlock, and Charles Ornstein.

Kyle Hopkins, ADN’s Pulitzer Prize winner: 98% of the news @kylehopkinsAK interacts with on Twitter leans left, 2% is centrist. Top three sources are: ADN, ProPublica, New York Times. His top three influencers are Charles Ornstein. of ProPublica; Elizabeth Harball, of Alaska Public Media’s Energy Desk; and Hopkins’ wife, Rebecca Palsha, of Alaska’s News Source.

Elizabeth Harball, Alaska Public Media Energy Desk: 94% of the news @ElizHarball interacts with on Twitter leans left, 6% is centrist. Top three sources are: ADN, Washington Post, New York Times. Top three influencers are Kyle Hopkins, David Hulen, Michelle Theriault Boots.

Michelle Theriault Boots, ADN: 95% of the news @Theriault_Boots interacts with on Twitter leans left, 5% is centrist. Top three sources are: ADN, New York Times, Washington Post.

Tom Hewitt, editorial page editor for ADN: 100% of the news @tomhewittnews interacts with on Twitter leans left. Top three news sources are ADN, New York Times, Washington Post. Top three influencers are Henry Cole, Will Muldoon, Ben Matheson.

Ryan Binkley, publisher of the ADN, isn’t a regular Twitter user, but his biggest influencers on Twitter are Howard Weaver (former ADN editor), Tom Hewitt, and Kyle Hopkins.

James Brooks, ADN: 95% of the news @AK_OK interacts with on Twitter leans left. Top three sources are: ADN, CBC News, New York Times. Top three influencers are National Weather Service Juneau, Matt Buxton (leftist political blog), David Reamer (historian).

Matt Buxton, Midnight Sun AK blog: 100% of the news @mattbuxton interacts with on Twitter leans left. Top three news sources are ADN, CBC News, CNN. Top three influencers are Alaska Landmine (blog), Andrew Kitchenman (KTOO), James Brooks (ADN).

Alaska Landmine: Not enough data. Top three influencers are James Brooks, Matt Buxton, Dave Stieren.

Amanda Bohman, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: 40% of the news @FDNMborough interacts with on Twitter leans left, 20% leans right, 40% is centrist. No top three news sources listed. Top three influencers are Tom Hewitt (ADN editorial page editor), ZubyMusic, and Samantha Godwin.

Nat Herz, Alaska Public Media Energy Desk: 96% of the news @Nat_Herz interacts with on Twitter leans left. Top three news sources are ADN, Indian Country Today, Associated Press. Top three influencers are Alaska Public Media, Alaska Landmine, Tegan Hanlon (Alaska Public Media).

Tegan Hanlon, Alaska Public Media: 96% of the news @teganhanlon interacts with on Twitter leans left. Top three news sources are ADN, New York Times, Washington Post. Top three influencers are Alaska Public Media, Liz Ruskin (APM), and KTOO.

If all the journalists in Alaska seem to be heavily left leaning, there is one bright spot: Becky Bohrer, AP reporter in Juneau. The algorithm rates her 100 percent centrist.

Try the Twitter Blindspotter tool yourself at this link.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I can just hear Captain Louis Renault telling Rick: “Gambling?!? I’m shocked!!”

    Claude Rains to Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca

  • Looks like we need more rational journalists with ethics training. Thank you MRA . I will use this tool : ground news.

  • Well this validates why I don’t waste my money and/ or time on reading the ADN or watching “Alaska’s News Source” so called “news” broadcasts… I don’t really consider any of their information as news, it’s more peddling of ready made opinions and why I should think one way and why I’m wrong if I don’t…

  • What? The dwarf is a non-influencer? That’s interesting. Dermot used to write for the Dispatch, before he got dispatched by the Binkleys. Now he just throws his old Lefty rhetoric out on occasion, hoping anyone will show up. Since the dwarf team is now down to one, he just recycles the old commie line, that is when he ain’t twitching in front of his UAF congregants.

  • Impressive list of middle to upper middle income white people. Reminds me of the pic of the editorial board at Huffington Post. What is it, journalism schools or newsrooms that are systematically racist?

  • Both.

  • Never heard of any of them. Hahaha. Apparently they aint working harder to have people like me hear about them.

  • Clearly this piece confirms what we have long intrinsically known. The Fourth Estate has mostly gone over to the dark side.
    Generally, the ADN has turned into the Alaskan version of Pravda. Occasionally I browse the online headlines to see if they picked up a story and how it is massaged to fit their narrative. As an example ADN suspended the comments on their main articles, but made an exception recently, when they posted a piece regarding taxes. It very prominently featured mostly republican lawmakers.
    Alaska Main Stream Media motto: We report what we decided, so you know what to think.

  • If you want left leaning news, you can tune in to just about any channel on TV, any website, any newspaper, any magazine, any music concert, any Hollywood movie, or any corporate advertisement.

    But to get right leaning news is Anchorage, you have to go to Must Read Alaska or the Dan Fagan show

  • Can’t use the blindspotter tool. I signed up for Fakebook but got bounced before making a single post. I signed up for Twitter, but couldn’t think of a single reason to use it, finally deleting it after Trump got banned. MRAK is the closest I come to any social media, if you don’t count messaging on World of Tanks and EVE. I used to post on Stocktwits, but got banned forever from there. I told their management that they needed the subscribers more than the subscribers needed them.

  • Each left or right article should be valued and reported to the Alaska Public Offices Commission as a donation. The cash equivalent of the combined leftest articles is worth millions in cash to the incumbents and challengers sponsored by the Anchorage Daily News and their masters at the New York Times and the Washington Post.

  • Fascinating! A very interesting app. Confirms of what we already know about ADN.

  • ADN = Trash

  • If they just had some govt. support it would be totally different.

  • On the lighter side: Is it just me, or is anybody else weary of the overused term “uptick”? I’m thinking of a game to count the “uptick” word in the news and comments I read daily. Might be a source of fun for this forum. Reminds me of “upchuck.”

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