The PEW group has released its annual study on the cable news networks
. As you might imagine, the findings are sometimes laughable, other times just depressing.
.. if one were to have watched five hours of cable news, one would have seen about:
On the other hand, one would have seen:
- 35 minutes about campaigns and elections
- 36 minutes about the debate over U.S. foreign policy
- 26 minutes or more of crime
- 12 minutes of accidents and disasters
- 10 minutes of celebrity and entertainment
- 1 minute and 25 seconds about the environment
- 1 minute and 22 seconds about education
- 1 minute about science and technology
- 3 minutes and 34 seconds about the economy
- 3 minutes and 46 seconds about health and health care
Since we're all adults here, I'll let you decide for yourself what you think is laughable, and what is depressing. I will reiterate that the lowest coverage was science, at a mere minute.. which is basically equivalent to, say, the President getting one day of science updates for every year
he is in office. That's how them newsies are informing the public. No word on whether they counted "bunk science" (like the renewability of corn-based ethanol) as part of that minute or not.
Here's another tidbits:
Cable's top five news subjects of the year were the 2008 presidential campaign, Iraq war policy, immigration, events in Iraq, and Iran. While these top news areas are all, arguably, U.S. centric, they are also very much about the world as a whole - that nebulous region beyond our borders, something we can't really conceptualize, but we're pretty sure it's bad
because, well, the news networks told us so. Yet the amount of time spent on foreign topics that are non-U.S. specific on Cable news and Network Evening news is 4% and 8%, respectively. No, I take that back, there is nothing respective about it.