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All Politics, All the Time

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Very interesting post from Daniel Little, channeling some data from Pew:

Fox devoted about half the percentage of its newshole to the BP Oil Spill compared to NBC news; Haiti got roughly a third the amount attention on Fox; and the Toyota Accelerator Recall got less than half the exposure as it received on NBC news.

At a minimum, this shows something pretty interesting: the regular viewer or listener to Fox News and Talk Radio will get a very different view of the world from the person exposed to All Media or Large Papers. 聽These media channels give an inordinate amount of airtime to “hot button” issues that have the potential of inflaming their viewers. 聽And these channels spend much less time that the other media on non-political issues — Haiti, Toyota recall, or Cyberspace.

What would be particularly interesting in today’s environment is an additional dimension of content analysis, reflecting antagonism, intolerance, and hostility. 聽It would be very useful to have a few years of data on the percentage of the newshole devoted to incendiary reporting about issues, individuals, and the government. 聽Many observers have the definite impression that this kind of language has increased dramatically; it would be very useful to have quantifiable data on this topic.

It isn’t simply that Fox politicizes its coverage; Fox has a distinct preference for those topics which lend themselves to political interpretation. This goes some distance to explaining how Fox differs from the more traditional news outlets.

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