Echo chamber (media)
In media, an echo chamber is a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an "enclosed" system, often drowning out different or competing views.
How it works
Observers of journalism in the mass media describe an echo chamber effect in media discourse. One purveyor of information will make a claim, which many like-minded people then repeat, overhear, and repeat again (often in an exaggerated or otherwise distorted form) until most people assume that some extreme variation of the story is true. A media conglomerate that owns multiple media outlets can produce the same story among "different" outlets, creating an illusion that a media consumer is getting information from different sources.
Spreading false information
Similarly, the term also refers to the media effect whereby an incorrect story (often a "smear" that first appears in a new-media domain) is reported through a biased channel, creating a media controversy that is subsequently reported in more reputable mainstream media outlets. These mainstream reports often use intermediary sources or commentary for reference and emphasize the controversy surrounding the original story rather than its factual merits. The overall effect often is to legitimize false claims in the public eye through sheer volume of reporting and media references, even if the majority of these reports acknowledges the factual inaccuracy of the original story.
How it impacts online communities
Participants in online communities may find their own opinions constantly echoed back to them, which reinforces their individual belief systems. This can create significant barriers to critical discourse within an online medium. The echo chamber effect may also impact a lack of recognition to large demographic changes in language and culture on the Internet if individuals only create, experience and navigate those online spaces that reinforce their world view.[vague] Another emerging term for this echoing and homogenizing effect on the Internet within social communities is cultural tribalism. The Internet may also be seen as a complex system (e.g., emergent, dynamic, evolutionary), and as such, will at times eliminate the effects of positive feedback loops (i.e., the echo chamber effect) to that system, where a lack of perturbation to dimensions of the network, prohibits a sense of equilibrium to the system.[vague] Complex systems that are characterized by negative feedback loops will create more stability and balance during emergent and dynamic behavior.[vague]
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- Jamieson, Kathleen Hall; Joseph N. Cappella. Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-536682-4.
- Parry, Robert (2006-12-28). "The GOP's $3 Bn Propaganda Organ". The Baltimore Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
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- Philip McRae, "Forecasting the Future Over Three Horizons of Change ", ATA Magazine, May 21, 2010.
- John Scruggs, "The "Echo Chamber" Approach to Advocacy", Philip Morris, Bates No. 2078707451/7452, December 18, 1998.
- "Buying a Movement: Right-Wing Foundations and American Politics," (Washington, DC: People for the American Way, 1996). Or download a PDF version of the full report.
- Dan Morgan, "Think Tanks: Corporations' Quiet Weapon," Washington Post, January 29, 2000, p. A1.
- Jeff Gerth and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Drug Industry Has Ties to Groups With Many Different Voices", New York Times, October 5, 2000.
- Robert Kuttner, "Philanthropy and Movements," The American Prospect, July 2, 2002.
- Robert W. Hahn, "The False Promise of 'Full Disclosure'," Policy Review, Hoover Institution, October 2002.
- David Brock, Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative (New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 2002).
- Jeff Chester, "A Present for Murdoch", The Nation, December 2003: "From 1999 to 2002, his company spent almost $10 million on its lobbying operations. It has already poured $200,000 in contributions into the 2004 election, having donated nearly $1.8 million during the 2000 and 2002 campaigns."
- Jim Lobe for Asia Times: "the structure's most remarkable characteristics are how few people it includes and how adept they have been in creating new institutions and front groups that act as a vast echo chamber for one another and for the media"
- Valdis Krebs, "Divided We Stand," Political Echo Chambers
- Jonathan S. Landay and Tish Wells, "Iraqi exile group fed false information to news media", Knight Ridder, March 15, 2004.
- R.G. Keen: The Technology of Oil Can Delays
- "SourceWatch entry on media "Echo Chamber" effect". SourceWatch. 2006-10-22.