Mediated Representations of Echo Chambers: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Its Use in Headlines
This study seeks to understand the use of ‘echo chamber’ as a term in headlines by the news media since the 2016 United States presidential elections. Headlines from across the ideological spectrum consisting of thirteen news outlets were sampled to understand the way ‘echo chamber’ was used. A critical discourse analysis of these headlines was done based on the political leanings of the outlets which were sourced from the news aggregator Allsides.com. A working definition of the term was suggested due to the variance or lack of definitions presented in previous literature. This led to an understanding of ‘echo chamber’ as a combination of both human tendency of homophily and selective exposure through filter bubbles online. This delimits the phenomenon, as per the prevalent understanding, from online-only or online induced to one that is widespread. Headlines from news media outlets from the US were sampled and critical discourse analysis was used to reveal the methods used by their producers. The analysis of the sample reveals the metaphorical use of the term as a modern way of labelling phenomenon like groupthink or tribalism, which have been in existence forever.