The real reason not to watch Fox news

Somehow, despite teaching a class on media and politics, I have been shamefully ignorant of the amazing Project for Excellence in Journalism until today (thanks to Mike Cobb for filling me in). 

I've been teaching about the media this week in my summer school class and I always enjoy sharing the results of the PIPA study that shows that Fox viewers actually became actively misinformed about the actual state of the world during the run-up to the Iraq War.  Anyway, much of this week I have been ranting about how news outlets give us Wall-to-wall Anna Nicole Smith coverage instead of real news.  Turns out the aforementioned Project for Excellence in Journalism does quarterly analysis of news coverage.  Not surprisingly, when it came to style over substance, cable news in general was the worst– but Fox was in a class by itself. The results:

Percent of Newshole Devoted Three Major Stories on Cable TV
Dec. 31, '06 – Mar. 31, '07

Iraq War Total
(all 3 threads)

2008 Presidential Campaign

Anna Nicole Smith

CNN

25

7

4

Fox News

15

9

10

MSNBC

31

14

6

All Cable

23%

9%

7%

That's right Fox basically spent as much time on the Anna Nicole story as MSNBC and CNN combined.  And how did they make up for it?  By pretending that the fiasco that is the Iraq War hardly exists. 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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