Getting our news from a good news outlet is very important for our everyday lives; to make good and inform decisions when voting, critiquing, or just telling a friend. Most of us get our news from cable news networks and with the increase in internet use, cable news network websites. When deciding on what cable news network website you should commit and get your news from, you should be looking at three main things: how much bias is in the writing, how much time and money is used in developing each news story that is published, and who is reading these online news articles? Following these guides, you can find an accurate new source to get your information (more on the criteria for a good cable news network website in Part I). I made my own evaluation on two major cable news networks, Fox News and CNN. I conducted research on the both of these outlets to find which out of the two is more reliable, based on the criteria established in part I of the website.
The first criterion in the in my list was news bias. This is obvious a big one and should be a red flag when looking for an accurate news story. The more biased the story is, the more persuasive the story and less informative like it should be. Biased news stories are for the most part one sided and try to make you follow their evaluations and opinions on a story instead of letting you come up with your personal view. These stories succeed at this by emphasizing points, using diction with positive connotations for their side and diction with negative connotations for the opposing side, and by leaving out information.
Fox News and CNN are both one of the major cable news networks out there. With thousands of users, and new outlet like these can easily swing or affect the outcome of important events like voting on a candidate or bill. When it comes to bias, subtle hints are what best influence a person. Slant words, small comments, etc make news stories bias. In an academic article titled, “Bias in Cable News: Persuasion and Polarization” by Gregory J. Martin and Ali Yurukoglu conducted a study where they show the bias on Fox and CNN’s bias through different methods (slant words, bias phrases, etc).
See how in Figure 1, in all three graphs, Fox tends to lead to conservatism, and CNN keeps a slightly liberal stance. This is all based on the slant used on their news stories and news coverage. When it comes to bias, Fox clearly shows more than CNN, giving CNN a win.
Sometimes, a story may sound biased without any intent of being so. This can happen whenever a story was poorly constructed and developed. This leads to my second criterion: How much time and money is spent on the research and development of each story? To make a valid analysis on any subject matter, you must be informed. To give off information, you must also be well informed! So if a cable news outlet is sloppy on their research or doesn’t spend much time on their writing, the audience will be misinformed by missing or wrongful information or misguided by careless writing and confusing ideas. This makes it a very important criterion when evaluating these news sources and confusing ideas. This makes it a very important criterion when evaluating these news sources.
When it comes to money, Fox news outspends their entire competition, spending around $820 million in comparison to CNN’s spending at $682 million by 2012, as shown in Figure 2 (below). The graph in Figure 2, depicted the amount of money being spent by both cable news networks yearly, showing a steady in Fox’s spending leaving CNN behind. According to an article in the New York Times, CNN’s new administration has recently begun to cut spending on news stories. Fox News spends more time and money on developing stories that CNN since 2009 and even more now with the new administration. CNN takes a blow on this criteria giving Fox News their first win.
The last criterion is a bit strange but could help in finding out how reliable a cable news network website really is. Depending on the variety of people that read their news from this website, we can conclude that the more it appeals to many different point of view, the more unbiased and reliable the source is. This criterion does not refer to popularity of the news cable. There are many unknown yet reliable news outlets out there. When we look at the audience, we want to see if there is a certain group that tends to read these stories. People tend to read news with ideologies similar to their own. Due to this fact, viewership can be an effective tool to find an unbiased and reliable source.
Figure 3 above shows the political ideologies and partisanship of the audiences of several major news outlets. In the list, Fox News and CNN are both found in this study. Fox News’ viewership consists mostly of conservative partisanship and Republican political ideology. From this we can derive that most of the news shown in Fox News is relevant to conservatives and side with Republican ideologies. On the other hand, CNN’s audience consists of mostly Democrats, yet they have a very even distribution when is comes to partisanship having about one third liberal, moderate, and conservative viewers. Due to the wide variety shown in CNN’s viewership’s partisanship in comparison to Fox’s mostly conservative and Republican audience, CNN takes the final point making it the better cable news network to get reliable and unbiased news from.
When it comes to news, we should all try to find a good reliable source where we can base all our information from and make our decisions from. When evaluating a specific cable news network website, there should be three criteria to take into account: article bias, spending on stories and news development, and their audiences’ ideologies and partisanship. When comparing two large cable news network competitors, CNN and Fox News, CCN became the more reliable source, beating Fox News by one point. CNN was less bias than Fox News and also had a wide variety of partisanship in their audience leaving them victorious. Fox News does outspend CNN by around $200 million but they are brought down by the bias included in their stories making CNN the more reliable source. When evaluating any two cable news network website it is important to take into consideration the three criteria set above and draw your own conclusions after some research.