Study Shows Cable News is Mostly Opinion, Barely News

by sam

Samuel Case, FISM News


For those who feel like the news isn’t what it used to be, the data suggests they may be right. According to a new study conducted by the Media Research Council less than a quarter of the time spent on a cable news program is dedicated to hard news.

According to the study, only 22.3% of the average hour on cable news features traditional news content such as “correspondents reporting from the scene, live coverage of breaking news, or an anchor just reading the latest news headlines.”

This means close to 80% of “news,” is actually commentary and discussions. MRC noted, “It’s even worse if you compare it to the commercials. On average, the news networks have nine minutes of news in an hour…and 18 minutes of commercials.”

Broken down by station MRC found that out of the networks, CNN ranked first with 28.2% of coverage being hard news, followed by 20.3% on MSNBC, and Fox coming in last at 18.4%. MRC observed this is a major drop off from a 2013 Pew study that found “factual reporting” made up 54% of CNN’s news, 45% of Fox’s, though MSNBC’s remained low at 15%.  

ABC, CBS, and NBC morning and evening news shows compared significantly better than the cable channels. MRC found that 50.1% of news content on these stations consisted of hard news. “The evening newscasts had the most hard news (71.7%), followed by the 7 a.m. hour of the morning shows (60.9%). Even the much lighter second hour of these morning shows (24.9% hard news) beat the 22.3% tally for cable news,” MRC found.