연구보고서 한국의 여론양극화 양상과 기제에 관한 연구 2019.08.31
본 연구는 여론양극화와 관련한 전체적인 논의의 한 부분으로서 인터넷 미디어의 역할을 미시적으로 살펴보고자 했다. 만약 인터넷 미디어 중 한쪽 성향의 채널만을 이용하는 소비자가 존재한다면 그는 다양한 시각의 정보에 노출되기 어렵다는 것을 본 연구 결과를 통해 확인할 수 있다. 특히 최근 증가하고 있는 유튜브 이용자들처럼 인터넷 미디어에서 선별적으로 콘텐츠를 이용하는 경우 이용자들이 다양한 견해에 노출되기가 매우 어려워진다는 점을 예상할 수 있다. 따라서 정책당국의 입장에서는 SNS 이용에 따른 문제를 플랫폼에만 맡길지 여부에 대한 판단이 필요할 것으로 보인다. 글로벌화된 인터넷 플랫폼에 대한 정부의 직접적인 규제가 쉽지 않다는 점도 고려할 필요가 있다. 가장 근본적인 해결책은 이용자들에 대한 미디어 해득(literacy) 교육이라고 할 수 있다. 수요 측면의 분석 결과에서 볼 수 있듯이, 뉴스에 대한 경험이 많은 소비자들은 매체의 영향을 덜 받게 된다. 이를 위해 구체적으로는 일선 학교에서의 교육도 적극적으로 이루어질 필요가 있으며, 최근 급격히 증가하고 있는 SNS 크리에이터에 대한 교육에 있어서도 공공성과 공익성 등을 고려한 교육이 이루어질 필요가 있다.
또한 인터넷 뉴스매체의 문제를 이야기할 때 한국에서는 포털뉴스 소비자들이 대다수를 차지하는 상황을 고려할 필요가 있다. 특히 포털의 자율규제가 각 매체들이 가질 수 있는 극단성에 대한 일종의 제약으로 작용할 수 있다. 또한 포털이 다양하게 뉴스를 배치하여 이용자에게 노출시킨다면 편향성에 대한 논란이 큰 문제가 되지 않을 수 있다. 이처럼 자율규제가 적절하게 이루어지도록 시민과 학계가 감시하는 것이 중요한 역할이 될 수 있을 것으로 보인다.
If democracy is to function effectively, voters and their representatives must have access to accurate information and engage in rational discourse on policy challenges. However, this democratic premise is undermined by opinion polarization, where extreme positions on either end of the opinion spectrum tend to dominate discourse, especially when it is strongly associated with demographic attributes such as race and religion. The hardening of attitudes (intensification), in combination with increased sorting, can lead to opinion polarization, as illustrated by “echo chamber” and “filter bubble” effects when individuals have a relatively narrow range of biased information sources either by choice or by algorithm. In the age of social media, disinformation, or “fake news,” can further exacerbate opinion polarization. Ultimately, opinion polarization among the elite and among the general public may interact with each other to increase the risk of political gridlock and social conflict (Chapter 1).
The United States provides a useful example in this regard. Elite polarization, as measured by the distance between the ideal points of Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress, appears to have taken place primarily due to three factors: (1) political realignment in the wake of the civil rights movement in the 1960s; (2) neoliberal ascendancy in the Republican Party since the 1970s; and (3) increasing economic inequality and identity-based politics since the 1980s. In turn, voter (popular) polarization has accelerated since the 2000s, especially between groups with different party preferences. The disproportionate influence of political activists and large donors, amplified by the media, has tended to drive opinion polarization in the U.S (Chapter 1).
This study looks at the characteristics and drivers of opinion polarization in Korea and draws policy implications. Unlike in the U.S., it is difficult to find empirical evidence in support of voter (popular) polarization in Korea. However, elite polarization is at a high level, and some of the factors that have exacerbated opinion polarization in the U.S. are present in Korea, including the role of social media. Accordingly, it would be advisable to craft policy responses to curb opinion polarization.
World Values Survey (WVS) and Korean General Social Survey (KGSS) results show that it is difficult to find empirical support for a trend toward voter polarization in Korea, even when responses from progressives and conservatives are compared with each other, although there is a slight increase in differences between progressives and conservatives since 2010 with respect to the role of the government in addressing inequality (Chapter 2). Accrording to KGSS results, self-reported political preferences do not show a polarizing trend over the 2003-2018 period.
Empirical results from surveys and experiments conducted in 2019 are consistent with the KGSS results. On a Likert scale from 0 (the most progressive) to 10 (the most conservative), self-reported political preferences had a mean of 4.59 and a standard deviation of 1.93, with the neutral position of 5 accounting for 45% of the 1,000 respondents. Political preferences deduced from responses to 25 policy questions, ranging from national security to social welfare, also exhibited a single-peaked, weakly normal distribution. Two-thirds of the respondents were between 4 (moderately progressive) and 6 (moderately conservative), and those who took extreme positions were rare. Self-reported political preferences were statistically associated with respondents’ innate preferences. For example, respondents with a higher level of inequality aversion or risk aversion were more likely to be progressive; whereas, those with a stronger preference for competition, more likely to be conservative. Also, self-reported political preferences showed a statistically significant difference from deduced political preferences, depending on respondents’ demographic characteristics and innate preferences. For example, men compared with women, and the old compared with the young, tended to overestimate their own conservativeness (Chapter 3). Overall, ideological preferences among the general public exhibit a weakly normal distribution in Korea, not a dispersed bimodal distribution typical of opinion polarization.
By contrast, ideological preferences among the elite show a significant level of polarization. According to Han et al. (2018), elite polarization in Korea increased from 0.7 during the 17th National Assembly (2004-2008) to 0.9 during the first half of the 20th (2016-May 2018), as measured by the distance between the ideal points of the two largest political parties. Since the ideal points of lawmakers range from –1 (the most progressive) to +1 (the most conservative), the distance of 0.9 represents 45% of the maximum value and is comparable in magitude to elite polarization in the U.S. around 2010 (Chapter 1).
Moreover, some of the factors that have contributed to opinion polarization in the U.S. are present in Korea. In particular, people with strong political preferences tend to wield a disproportionately large influece in Korea due to to their high level of participation in opinion formation activities, including political demonstrations and social media (Chapter 2).
In fact, empirical results suggest that internet media (social media and internet-only news sites) can drive opinion polarization by providing biased information and influencing popular views. When the degree of information bias is measured by the frequency with which an internet media channel of a certain ideological inclination uses expressions preferred by the opposite ideological camp, it turns out that internet media are more biased than members of the National Assembly. An empirical analysis of the impact of internet media on consumers’ political preferences, based on media panel data in 2012 and 2016, shows that consumers exposed to social media and internet-only news sites tend to become more progressive and more conservative, respectively. In addition, it shows that those who do not prefer news (presumed to have a lower level of news literacy) tend to be affected more by internet media (Chapter 4).
Policy responses to address opinion polarization should be based on the understanding that opinion polarization stems from socioeconomic factors, amplified by the disproportionate influence of political activists and the media. At a fundamental level, because opinion polarization is exacerbated by group polarization, it is important to craft an inclusive identity and prohibit discrimination based on socioeconomic characteristics such as race and religion. It is also important to address economic inequality, which may provide the background for identity-based politics. In order to reduce the disproportionate influence of political activists, election and political financing rules should be amended to better reflect the concerns and aspirations of the general public and rely less on those with strong ideological preferences. Last but not least, in order to reduce information bias, including disinformation, media literacy should be improved through education.
제1장 여론양극화의 기제와 정책적 함의
제1절 이론적 배경
제2절 미국의 여론양극화 현상
제3절 한국의 여론양극화 현상
제4절 정책적 함의
제2장 조사자료 분석을 통해 본 우리나라 여론양극화의 추세와 양상
제1절 서 론
제2절 중위투표자정리의 한계: 미국 연구의 시사점
제3절 우리나라의 여론양극화 추세와 양상
제4절 분석 결과의 시사점
제3장 정치성향의 설명요인: 경제적 유인과 내재적 선호
제1절 서 론
제2절 이론적 배경
제3절 실험 디자인
제4절 실험연구 결과
제5절 결 론
제4장 인터넷 미디어와 여론양극화
제1절 연구 개요
제3절 인터넷 미디어의 정보 공급 특성
제4절 미디어 이용자의 성향 변화
제5절 결 론
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