There’s something strange about measuring the amount of news coverage given to the topic of “fake news” (not the actual fake news itself).
We won’t expound on the economic or political motivations behind this scourge (focusing instead on quantitative FACTS), but here are some illuminating links:
- NPR Finds the Head of a Covert Fake News Operation in the Suburbs (where else!)
- An A-Z Account of How Fake News Spreads
- Another Fake News Purveyor, Cameron Harris
The numbers behind the fake news topic:
The topic of fake news is currently pulling a media rating of 94 coming out of January, up +1 over December and +40 percent over the prior year. It’s not surprising that the cumulative 4-year growth in coverage is an amazing +23 percent. It is one of many disturbing topics (vote rigging, Russian hacking) to emerge from the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
To provide some perspective on how much coverage the topic of fake news has garnered, let’s take a quick look at similar ratings from other subjects covered in the news.
Take media magnet Kim Kardashian. Ms. Kardashian’s January 2017 media rating is 92, just 2 points shy of the “fake news” topic. You might recall that last October Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in Paris, generating considerable media coverage for the the already well-covered celebrity. The Kardashian brand hit a rating high of 94.
All the buzz around “fake news” and “alternative facts” and the debunking of evidence-based reality is indeed startling, a rotten apple that could undermine the reputation and legitimacy of regular news sources. If legitimate news loses credible value, then we’re all in for a heap of trouble. Tracking the trajectory and media values behind this topic can help determine whether it is gaining or losing its own credible grip on the media narrative.