PEJ Report: Led By Fox News and MSNBC, Politics Dominates Coverage on Cable Networks in 2010

By Alex Weprin 

The Project for Excellence in Journalism released its 2010 “Year in the News” report, and it makes for a fascinating read. PEJ also has an excellent interactive feature, which lets you break down coverage by media sector (TV, radio, newspapers, etc) as well as network.

The top three stories of the year were the 2010 election, the BP oil spill and the state of the economy.

Among the findings: politics dominated the coverage on the cable news channels, while the network newscasts were a little more balanced in their coverage of the year’s big stories:

Among the big three cable news channels, Fox News and MSNBC dedicated far more time to politics, with CNN splitting its coverage more evenly across the three top stories of the year:

As PEJ explains: “Broadly speaking, the coverage patterns seem to affirm CNN’s niche as more oriented toward big breaking news events with Fox and MSNBC more attuned to the political battlegrounds.”

Of course, that focus on politics has helped propel FNC to the top of the cable news ratings, and MSNBC to surpass CNN as the number two news channel.

PEJ’s interactive feature lets you see how often any of the news organizations covered individual topics or people. Check it out for yourself, and if you spot other interesting trends, let us know in the comments.