Who Blames Whom in a Crisis? Detecting Blame Ties from News Articles Using Neural Networks

  • Shuailong Liang Singapore University of Technology and Design
  • Olivia Nicol Singapore University of Technology and Design
  • Yue Zhang Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore


Blame games tend to follow major disruptions, be they financial crises, natural disasters or terrorist attacks. To study how the blame game evolves and shapes the dominant crisis narratives is of great significance, as sense-making processes can affect regulatory outcomes, social hierarchies, and cultural norms. However, it takes tremendous time and efforts for social scientists to manually examine each relevant news article and extract the blame ties (A blames B). In this study, we define a new task, Blame Tie Extraction, and construct a new dataset related to the United States financial crisis (20072010) from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. We build a Bi-directional Long Short-Term Memory (BiLSTM) network for contexts where the entities appear in and it learns to automatically extract such blame ties at the document level. Leveraging the large unsupervised model such as GloVe and ELMo, our best model achieves an F1 score of 70% on the test set for blame tie extraction, making it a useful tool for social scientists to extract blame ties more efficiently.

AAAI Special Technical Track: AI for Social Impact