Two major stories have taken up the bulk of cable news coverage over the past couple of weeks, but depending on which network you’ve been watching, you may not know that one of them even exists. The Pew Research Center conducted a survey of cable news content from November 11-15 and found that, while CNN struck a fairly good balance between coverage of the Affordable Care Act and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Fox News devoted 80 times more coverage to Obamacare than they did to the deadly typhoon.
MSNBC fell somewhere in between, still devoting far more coverage to Obamacare than the typhoon, of which the death toll is estimated to be more than 4,000, though by a factor of 4-1 compared to Fox’s 80-1. Like CNN, new cable news network Al Jazeera America also spent more time covering the typhoon than Obamacare.
The full breakdown for each of the four networks can be seen in the graphic below:
Pew sums up the findings like this:
The two channels with strong ideological identities in prime-time—liberal MSBNC and conservative Fox News—spent far more time on the politically-charged health insurance story than the overseas disaster. And the two organizations that built a brand on global reporting—CNN and Al Jazeera America, an offshoot of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera media network—spent considerably more time on the tragedy in the Philippines.
But while Fox and MSNBC both chose to give more air time to Obamacare than they did to the typhoon and its aftermath, the disparity between the two on Fox was vastly more apparent. Of course, the network retained its place at the top of the cable news ratings last week, so the decision appears to have paid off.
See the full survey results at PewResearch.org.
[photo via Fox News]
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