If you read this site regularly you know that right-wingers love nothing more than to push the myth that -- much like facts and science -- the media has a liberal bias. Did you know that many conservatives also think websites like YouTube, Google and Wikipedia also have a liberal bias?
No, I'm not kidding.
A few years ago some conservatives even launched a right-wing version of YouTube to avoid the video sharing site's liberal machinations. They even launched their own version of Wikipedia complete with an effort to root out liberal bias in the bible of all places.
It must be a frightening world out there for conservatives with the evils of liberal bias lurking around every corner.
Perhaps that is why right-wingers appear to have taken things into their own hands. AlterNet is reporting an exclusive that purports to reveal a wide-ranging plot to rid the social bookmarking website Digg of progressive opinion.
AlterNet reports (emphasis added):
A group of influential conservative members of the behemoth social media site Digg.com have just been caught red-handed in a widespread campaign of censorship, having multiple accounts, upvote padding, and deliberately trying to ban progressives. An undercover investigation has exposed this effort, which has been in action for more than one year.
"The more liberal stories that were buried the better chance conservative stories have to get to the front page. I'll continue to bury their submissions until they change their ways and become conservatives." -phoenixtx (aka vrayz)
Digg.com is the powerhouse of social media websites. It is ranked 50th among US websites by Alexa (117th in the world), by far the most influential social media site. It reached one million users in 2007 and likely has more than tripled that by this point. Digg generates around 25 million page views per month, over one third of the page views of the NY Times. Front page stories regularly overwhelm and temporarily shut down websites in a process called the "Digg Effect."
The concept behind the site is simple. Submitted webpages (news, videos, or images) can be voted up (digging) or down (burying) by each user, sort of a democracy in the internet model. If an article gets enough diggs, it leaves the upcoming section and reaches the front page where most users spend their time, and can generate thousands of page views.
This model also made it very susceptible to external gaming whereby users from certain groups attempt to push their viewpoint or articles to the front page to give them traction. This was evident with the daily spamming of the upcoming Political section with white supremacist material from the British National Party (articles which rarely reached the front page). The inverse of this effect is more devastating however. Bury brigades could effectively remove stories from the upcoming sections by collectively burying them.
One bury brigade in particular is a conservative group that has become so organized and influential that they are able to bury over 90% of the articles by certain users and websites submitted within 1-3 hours, regardless of subject material. Literally thousands of stories have already been artificially removed from Digg due to this group. When a story is buried, it is removed from the upcoming section (where it is usually at for ~24 hours) and cannot reach the front page, so by doing this, this one group is removing the ability of the community as a whole to judge the merits or interest of these stories on their own (in essence: censoring content). This group is known as the Digg "Patriots".
The DP group searches Digg for any articles from websites they want to drown out, sites such as Salon, News Junkie Post, Talking Points Memo, FreakOutNation, Five Thirty Eight, ThePublicRecord, Rawstory, The Nation, Media Matters for America, PoliticusUSA, Alternet, Fire Dog Lake, Political Carnival, TruthOut, DailyKos, The Joshua Blog, The Brad Blog, Huffington Post, Science Blogs, Smirking Chimp, Down With Tyranny, Crooks and Liars, MarioPiperni, Buzzflash, Bob Cesca's REALLY AWESOME Blog, and The New York Times.
Yep, it seems Media Matters was a target of this organized effort. If you'd like to Digg material from Media Matters you can do so right here or at the top of each research item, blog post or MMtv clip.
I encourage everyone to read the story in its entirety for all the details.