MetaTOC stay on top of your field, easily

News Values, Cognitive Biases, and Partisan Incivility in Comment Sections


Journal of Communication

Published online on


Partisan incivility is prevalent in news comments, but we have limited insight into how journalists and news users engage with it. Gatekeeping, cognitive bias, and social identity theories suggest that journalists may tolerate incivility while users actively promote partisan incivility. Using 9.6 million comments from The New York Times, we analyze whether the presence of uncivil and partisan terms affects how journalists and news users engage with comments. Results show that partisanship and incivility increase recommendations and the likelihood of receiving an abuse flag. Swearing increases the likelihood of a comment being rejected and reduces the chances of being highlighted as a NYT Pick. These findings suggest that journalists and news users interact with partisan incivility differently, and that some forms of incivility may be promoted or tacitly accepted in comments.