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What kinds of news stories stir up liberals? What kind thrill the conservatives?

Those questions likely won't be definitively answered soon, at least not by humans. But a team of Microsoft researchers, specialists in natural language processing and machine learning, has been trying to resolve them using the Web.

The research group, based at the company's Redmond, Wash. headquarters, is developing a program that classifies news stories according to whether liberal or conservative bloggers are linking to them.

Then, to see which stories really excite the partisans, the program further aims to measure the "emotional intensity" of the blog posts that a news story has inspired. The intensity measure is based on the frequency of key words, such as "criminal" and "lying," in the blog posts. Check it out here.

For example, an item this week about Geraldine Ferraro's remarks on Sen. Barack Obama attracted links from 16 liberal bloggers and four conservative ones. The conservatives comments, however, were more heated.

"We were all a little frustrated reading the news," said Sumit Basu, one of the researchers. "It is a solitary experience and you wonder what articles other people are reading and what they're thinking about them. You can use the bloggers as a proxy for those other people."

By Peter Whoriskey  |  March 14, 2008; 9:46 AM ET  | Category:  Peter Whoriskey
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The one thing you can be sure of is a DC reporter being BEHIND the times. I remember going to some friends home in Northern Virginia a few years ago. I had come in from San Jose. They were still using a long Ethernet cable instead of wifi. Goofy...just like this reporter. He sees something from Microsoft and is completely wowed like most East Coasters tend to be. Come on man, this has been around for a while. The best implementation of this from folks with linguistic backgrounds has been skewz.com. But there is also voteoften.org and hostilecrowd.com. East Coasters...please catch up!

Posted by: Behind the Times | March 15, 2008 9:59 AM

Behind the Times, Come on man, this has been around for a long time. Some lonely blogging fool misunderstands an article and then pathetically attempts to condescend to some perceived subordinate group in order to feel better about his miserable self. Self loathers, please clam up!

Posted by: roleer coasters | March 15, 2008 10:24 AM

It is hard to believe that Obama did not know what was being preached in his own church, and that he was not so offended that he would be moved to change his church membership. Obama continued his member ship with Trinity Church and Jeremiah Wright Jr. for 20 years, in spite of what Wright Jr. was preaching. It is not credible to believe that during that time Obama was never privy to these type of sermons.

"That birds of a feather, flock together". I doubt the nation is ready to entrust the leadership of the most powerful country in the world to an associate for 20 years of a pastor who could shout "God damn America" from the pulpit.

The same can be said for Rev. Moss III, the new pastor of Trinity Church after Rev. Wright retired. That was him jumping up to slap Rev. Wright on the back during his Clinton bashing sermon while he mimicked Bill Clinton doing Monica Lewinsky "dirty".

What about the whole congregation cheering during these sermons? It is a like minded group of people, not exclusive to Rev. Wright. A group that Obama has been an integral part of.

Obama elected to continue his membership there, to have his marriage there, to have his children baptized there. And, most of all, why he chose to have Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. as his personal mentor. How much of what Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. believed really soaked into Obama's psyche, in spite of what he says or denies? At the very least, Barack Obama should have terminated his membership in Trinity Church and moved to a church that was not racist and was not anti-American and anti-white.

Personally, I think Obama is not presidential, but let the electorate decide.

It will make no difference to the star-gazing liberals who worship at the shrine of Obama, but it very well may have decided some conservative democrats and independent/unaffiliated voters minds.

Posted by: Independent | March 15, 2008 2:28 PM

Any model attempting to classify all political points of view upon a simple linear scale is flawed in its design, and will increase poitical polarisation, not foster valuable discourse in the free-marketplace of ideas.

The flawed modeling will be exploited to perpetuate the present political structure in the US. Does anyone believe this is a positive?

Posted by: rhettorrick | March 17, 2008 1:08 AM

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