Monday, April 13, 2009

The Difference Between FOX and CNN, Illustrated

How do the editorial slants of CNN and Fox News differ from one another?

Here are the top headlines on CNN and Fox news websites at 10:30am, Eastern Time:

CNN: Pirates vow to kill U.S., French sailors

FOX: U.S. Mulls Strike on Pirates

This is the impression I get from these news source reporting priorities:

The CNN headline highlights the consequences of our actions, an emphasis on the reactions of the pirates to what we did. Like an "oh oh, maybe we shouldn't have freed our folks from the pirates - now look what will happen." Bottom line: a negative, hopeless feeling spin.

The Fox headline highlights our possible future additional actions, an emphasis on additional steps we might take toward eliminating the piracy threat. To me, this is headline provides a feeling that we are in control, not at the mercy of the pirates - a feeling of hope and optimism.

This contrast in reporting reveals the nature of CNN reporting, which caters to liberals, whiners, and the pessimistic souls, and the nature of Fox reporting which caters to conservatives, the optimists, and the self-reliant among us.

CNN attracts those with negative feelings about our nation, and believe we are too smug (i.e. overly self-confident).

Fox attracts those with positive, hopeful feelings about our nation, and believe we are too negative and critical of our nation.

While not all readers accept the credibility of this simplistic comparison, these differences in editorial emphasis have been noticed and commented on by the general public over the years. These distinctions are significant enough for advertisers to tailor their marketing to the different demographics these networks attract. This is just the first time I've taken the time, personally, to document a specific instance that highlights these distinctions.

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