Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fox News is Different

As I work on a manuscript, I came across some fun data that continue my argument of Fox News exceptionalism.  In this case, let's look at the overlapping audiences of the three major cable news outlets and the three major broadcast news networks.

First, the easy stuff, the alphabet soup that is ABC, CBS, and NBC.  Among these, the overlapping audience ranges in the double digits, usually around 18 percent.  Among the cable networks it's much smaller, in part because of which are available on people's cable networks, in part because -- let's face it -- the partisan/ideological differences. See below.
  • Fox/CNN overlap: 11.2%
  • Fox/MSNBC overlap: 5.4%
  • CNN/MSNBC overlap: 8.0%
That 5.4 percent is by far the smallest if you look at all six networks.  The biggest overlap, if you care, is CBS-NBC (19.5 percent).  For fun, let's look now at how CNN and Fox overlap with the broadcast networks.
  • Fox/ABC overlap: 13.6%
  • CNN/ABC overlap: 12.5%
  • Fox/CBS overlap: 14.8%
  • CNN/CBS overlap: 11.4%
  • Fox/NBC overlap: 14.2%
  • CNN/NBC overlap: 12.9%
Notice anything?  While the differences are small and not statistically significant, the trend clearly shows Fox has a somewhat larger overlap with the traditional broadcast networks than CNN.

This is part of a much larger project I'm working on, something I'll probably blog about in more detail on another day.  And of course what's fun about these overlaps is to see if there are socio-demographic or political differences.  Without crunching the data, clearly the more politically interested will be likely to overlap and report using lots of different sources.  Age is probably also a factor, as Fox and the traditional networks tend to attract older viewers.  Finally, ideology plays a huge role here, especially in explaining the small overlap between conservative Fox News and liberal MSNBC.  Again, this is all part of a bigger research project I'm trying to finish off this summer.

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