Fox News Website Fixated on Death

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The Fox News website’s obsession with death far exceeds that of its rival MSNBC and outpaces the sensationalistic National Enquirer website. 

A month-long analysis of the Fox News website (www.foxnews.com) reveals that its headlines and homepage text contain far more instances of terminology related to death when compared to MSNBC (www.msnbc.com).

The Fox News website statistically exceeds MSNBC in the use of root words such as “kill,” “murder,” “fatality,” “death,” “dead,” and “suicide.”

The site presents death-related words an average of almost 13 times a day on its homepage, while MSNBC uses the same words an average of once a day.

Peter Bakke, the study’s author and former newspaper executive, commented, “There’s an old adage in the news business, ‘If it bleeds, it leads.’ The Fox News website uses death-related terms a great deal. The numbers are remarkable and are an indication that Fox News editors know what type of news attracts their audience. Clearly, Fox News’ readers have an affinity for news more like that of the National Enquirer than hard news found on other national news sites.”

Bakke added, “Click analysis is telling Fox News editors and ececutives what their readers like to read. And obviously death sells. If you visit the Fox News website right now, you’ll likely find not one, but several sensational articles about death.”

The frequency of death-related terms on the Fox News website (13 times per day) even exceeds that of the National Enquirer (12 times per day).

Data appears below for terms associated with the various root word topics for each of three websites in the month-long study. The sample consisted of 23 random same-day observations over a 31-day period.

The study was performed by Peter Bakke of Tucson, AZ, who is a former newspaper executive. Contact information is below.

Various word root usage from the month-long study of www.foxnews.com, www.msnbc.com, www.nationalenquirer.com :

FOX NEWS   TERM  DEATH-related     TERM     ‘DEMOCRAT’  TERM        ‘REPUBLICAN’
Average use per day   12.61    3.00  1.43
 Std. Dev    4.91     2.95  1.41
MSNBC NEWS      TERM     DEATH-related        TERM     ‘DEMOCRAT’  TERM        ‘REPUBLICAN’
Average use per day    1.35    1.87  1.32
Std. Dev    1.15    2.10  1.36
NATIONAL ENQUIRER      TERM    DEATH-related       

TERM
‘DEMOCRAT’

TERM ‘REPUBLICAN’
Average use per day    11.73    0.00  0.00
Std. Dev    4.61    0.00  0.00

Contact:

Peter Bakke

Tucson, AZ

520-261-2090

peter @ bakke.com