Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The makings of a Trend

Even on Planet Fox, this is an achievement: The top two stories are not just about the same event, they're in effect the same story. At top is a rewrite of an Albany Times-Union story about Gov. Cuomo's (allegedly nepotistic) vaccine priorities. In the No. 2 position is ... a rewrite of the same Albany Times-Union story about Gov Cuomo's (allegedly nepotistic) vaccine priorities!

This is a notch more dramatic than a previous case this month, in which one appearance by a newly hired "Fox News analyst" on a Fox talk show also held down the top two positions:

The visual framing is a bit more distinct here (March 4, if you're scoring along at home). The top story gets to remind the audience of the Main Enemy; the second story singles out a new one. Through March 5, as it turns out, Jen Psaki had been mentioned in as many Top Five homepage headlines as Mitch McConnell (21 each: two behind AOC but four ahead of Harris*).

So overall, what do you hear about when you visit the Fox homepage for your news? The most frequent headline words in this data set* are Trump (281), Biden (242), Cuomo (130) and COVID (100). Some frequent phrases? Glad you asked! Here's an edited selection:

  • Nursing home                 34
  • Impeachment trial         19
  • Super Bowl                      18
  • Anti-Trump                     16
  • Left wing                          16
  • Cancel culture                 13

Context, as usual, is everything. "Super Bowl" can be the game itself, but also the reaction of various Twitter randos to the halftime show, anything involving Tom Brady's postgame experiences or the uppityness of assorted players and relatives. "Anti-Trump" is often the Lincoln Project but also CNN and other miscreants. There's just no end of potential fun here.

* For the record, "Seuss" comes up 16 times and "Limbaugh" 15.

** Data cleanup still pending


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