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Political Depolarization of News Articles Using Attribute-aware Word Embeddings

01/05/2021
by   Ruibo Liu, et al.
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Political polarization in the US is on the rise. This polarization negatively affects the public sphere by contributing to the creation of ideological echo chambers. In this paper, we focus on addressing one of the factors that contributes to this polarity, polarized media. We introduce a framework for depolarizing news articles. Given an article on a certain topic with a particular ideological slant (eg., liberal or conservative), the framework first detects polar language in the article and then generates a new article with the polar language replaced with neutral expressions. To detect polar words, we train a multi-attribute-aware word embedding model that is aware of ideology and topics on 360k full-length media articles. Then, for text generation, we propose a new algorithm called Text Annealing Depolarization Algorithm (TADA). TADA retrieves neutral expressions from the word embedding model that not only decrease ideological polarity but also preserve the original argument of the text, while maintaining grammatical correctness. We evaluate our framework by comparing the depolarized output of our model in two modes, fully-automatic and semi-automatic, on 99 stories spanning 11 topics. Based on feedback from 161 human testers, our framework successfully depolarized 90.1 in fully-automatic mode. Furthermore, 81.2 non-polar content information is well-preserved and 79 depolarization does not harm semantic correctness when they compare the original text and the depolarized text. Our work shows that data-driven methods can help to locate political polarity and aid in the depolarization of articles.

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