27 August 2010

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Conspiracy literally means, to breathe together. I am not sure what I am writing exposes a conspiracy or is one, but here goes:

Muslims, Mexicans and Gays are enemies of America. If the news says anything, a fair portion of the country believes our security and liberty are under assault from Muslims, Mexicans and Gays.

Is this true? I don't think so, but what each of these issues has in common is that it arouses strong feelings that seem to me rooted in a fear that these things threaten our 'way of life.' Making them appear to be organized threats is what seems to be happening.

Based on a very quick comparison of three four major news organizations, one of them spends far more time and effort reporting on these issues than the others. Way more.

Here's my half hour of research, and take it for just that much.

Fox News has 29561 items tagged with 'ground zero mosque.' CBS has not even 300, unless you enter the term 'mosque' alone, which yields 2506 . PBS news hour lists less than 100, but it grows to 475 if likewise limited to 'mosque.'

Fox has 20242 items tagged 'illegal immigration.' CBS has 2767 if you limit it to immigration.

Fox has 13269 items tagged 'gay marriage.' CBS has 1951. PBS 324.

Now, I understand that Fox is bigger in market share than both, and runs news all day. So let me compare that to CNN:

'Ground zero mosque' results in 270. 'Mosque' alone 2939. 'Illegal immigration' gets 3213. 'immigration' alone 8446. And 'gay marriage' gets 1098.

In other words, Fox was generated between ten and twenty times as many items on these issues as any other type of broadcast network (network, public, cable).

Now, add in the News Corp's revealed support for the Republican Party, the mother of Fox News, and it makes this normally fair open minded fellow wonder whether there is more than news gathering at work here.

I am lousy at data based analysis, so do not take this as some sort of 'proof.' But I do know that the more you repeat something, the more people are going to think about it. Staying on message is a basic principle of political life. These topics at Fox News far outnumber the deficit (8694), taxes (9408) and even 'liberal' (8611). I cannot help but wonder why.

Lest you think I might be leaving out some other topic that gets more attention that even Muslims, Mexicans and Gays. There is at least one. It gets 43457 items.


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