Not Much News On Cable News
A new study by the Pew Research Center shows the extent to which news coverage on the three major cable news networks has been replaced more and more with opinion based programming:
The snapshot analysis of more than 100 hours of programming in late 2012 found that liberal-dominated MSNBC led the way in evening commentary (86% of its airtime) compared with only 14% devoted to reporting. The Fox News Channel, with its conservative lineup, had the highest proportion of reporting (44%) although there was still more opinion (56%) on its evening programming.
In contrast with its two main rivals, CNN has traditionally branded itself around coverage of breaking news events and a more balanced menu of political commentary. And over the course of the entire day, the Pew Research study showed, it was the only one of the three cable channels to offer more reporting (54%) than opinion (46%). But in the evening, CNN leaned more heavily on opinion—66% as opposed to 34% reporting—than Fox News. The resurrection of Crossfire, which will replace a half-hour of Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room,” will likely increase the commentary quotient.
Here are the numbers in chart form:
I suppose it’s inevitable that opinion would play such a prominent role on these 24 hour networks. There’s only so much news out there and reporting it is far less interesting to the self-important talking heads than sitting around a studio arguing and speculating. I’m just not sure that’s good for the political culture as a whole.