Study: MSNBC spent most time on Ferguson story, Fox the least


A new study reveals significant differences in prime time coverage by three major news outlets of the protests in Ferguson, Mo.. MSNBC, Fox and CNN differed in the amount of coverage provided after the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, out of the three major cable news outlets, MSNBC devoted the most coverage to Ferguson, followed by CNN, and Fox News, which devoted the least amount of coverage.

The study analyzed 18 hours of programming from Sunday Aug. 9, to Friday Aug. 14. During that time period, MSNBC devoted 5 hours and 42 minutes of coverage, CNN devoted 3 hours and 59 minutes while Fox News devoted 3 hours.

CNN's International anchor Rosemary Church  shocked viewers when she wondered why police didn't use water cannons on protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.

During CNN’s coverage of events in Ferguson, Missouri, international anchor Rosemary Church shocked viewers when she wondered why police didn’t use water cannons on protesters.

Zita Arocha, journalism professor and director of, said ideology might explain the differences in coverage.

“The liberal one has more coverage, the conservative one has the least amount of coverage,” Arocha said. “It’s not a surprise that they came out as they came out.”

Fabian Barragan, senior kinesiology major, watches Fox News regularly. Barragan said he saw minimal coverage on Ferguson aired on Fox News. The coverage that was provided was aimed at explaining why the officer, Darren Wilson, shot 18-year-old Brown.

Since the study done by the Pew, both liberal and conservative news media outlets have received critiques related to coverage about Ferguson. A storm of protest ensued after an article published in the New York Times used the term “no angel” to characterize Brown. The Times defended their article at first, but later editor Margaret Sullivan wrote that it was an “ill-chosen” phrase.

Bill O’ Reilly, Fox News commentator, also critiqued liberal media outlets.

“The liberal media will never report… the true picture of criminal justice in America,” O’Reilly said.

O’Reailly’s heaviest criticism was towards MSNBC commentator Reverand Al Sharpton for insulting the American police community after stating in his own show Politics Nation, “we’ve had enough of police brutality.”

The findings of the 2014 study are similar to another Pew study that was released as a result of the Trayvon Martin shooting in 2012. The previous study revealed MSNBC devoted 49 percent of its coverage to the shooting of Trayvon Martin, followed by CNN at 40 percent and Fox News at 18 percent.

Selena Flores, sophomore history major, was not surprised by the study’s findings.

“I’m honestly not surprised that Fox News is low because they’re very conservative,” Flores said. “They’re just so full of Republicans.”

This story was originally published in on Sept. 4, 2014.




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