How Did Different News Outlets Present the Cohen and Manafort News?

Day in, day out, we are surrounded by the news. It’s accessible 24/7 at our fingertips. As such, its good to take a chance once in awhile to look at how it shapes our worldviews and how choosing different outlets can affect our picture of the way the world works.

Tuesday’s (8/21/18) events give a great opportunity to examine what various media outlets consider newsworthy by looking at what is displayed prominently on the front page of their websites. Each image was grabbed at around 1 PM EST.

They’re color coded based upon how the sites lean according to the following news bias ranking site: https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/ and ordered alphabetically. We chose some of the top news sites in the country by web traffic.

ABC News
ABC News is ranked as leaning “Left-Center” and is color coded slightly blue. Notice how it prominently displays an article about the Cohen and Manafort news. Also of interest is that the Mollie Tibbets news is in the lower right with no mention of the identity of her killer.
Associated Press
The Associated Press is ranked as “Least Biased” and consequently has no color shading. It prominently displays Cohen news with different verbiage than ABC. Notice how the Mollie Tibbets news is nowhere to be found without actively seeking it out.
BBC
The BBC is ranked as leaning “Left-Center”. It prominently displays a Cohen piece and similar to the Associated Press, no Mollie Tibbets news is shown.
Breitbart
Breitbart is ranked as a “Questionable Source”. It leans right and consequently is colored a dark red. Its prominent piece is Mollie Tibbets news. Several pieces in the side column do mention the Cohen and Manafort news.
CNN
CNN is ranked as leaning “Left” and is colored blue. It prominently displays a Cohen piece and does show a Mollie Tibbets piece, albeit with no mention of her killer’s identity.
Daily Wire
The Daily Wire is ranked as leaning “Right” and is colored red. Unlike Breitbart, it has no mention of the Cohen or Manafort news and the Mollie Tibbets case is shown, but isn’t the main piece.
Fox News
FOX News is ranked as leaning “Right” and is colored red. It prominently displays the Mollie Tibbets case with careful attention paid to the identity of the killer, unlike every other news site. It does mention the Cohen and Manafort News in the lower left-hand corner.
MSNBC
MSNBC is ranked as leaning “Left” and is colored blue. Cohen news is displayed prominently and some additional Cohen and Manafort news is displayed off to the right. The Mollie Tibbets case is not mentioned prominently anywhere.
NBC News
NBC News is ranked as leaning “Left-Center” and is colored slightly blue. It prominently mentions Cohen news and various other doomsday Trump-type news. It doesn’t prominently display any Mollie Tibbets pieces.
NPR
NPR is rated as leaning “Left-Center”. It prominently displays Cohen and Manafort news but doesn’t show any mention of Mollie Tibbets.
Reuters
Reuters is rated as “Least Biased” and consequently has no shading. It prominently displays Cohen and Manafort news but similar to the “Left-Center” or “Left” outlets, doesn’t mention Mollie Tibbets.
Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is rated as “Right-Center” and is colored slightly red. It prominently displays Cohen and Manafort news but similar to many other outlets, shows no mention of the Mollie Tibbets news.

As can be seen, depending on the political lean of the news site, the top stories of the day vastly differed and consequently a viewer’s perception of the world events differed as much too. If a viewer were Right-Center to Left, they largely saw the same events, likely with increasing degrees of dire consequences for Donald Trump’s presidency. However, if they got their news from Right leaning sources, the biggest news of the day was that Mollie Tibbets’ killer was found and at Fox News, it was also a big deal that he was an illegal immigrant.

For more information on where and how we get the news shapes our worldviews, check out our other blog post on the news: What is Newsworthy and How Does the News Shape our Perception of the World?. Look for our upcoming YouTube video on how to protect yourself from manipulation from Marketing and Propaganda.

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